DrumBeat: September 4, 2008

Gulf Coast Faces Sea Level-Sinkage Double Whammy

Hurricane Gustav has been a harsh reminder that it's only the whim of a hurricane track, a few miles this way or that, which can make the difference between a close call and another Katrina-like catastrophe for New Orleans and other Gulf Coast communities.

With the one-two punch being delivered by sinking land and rising sea levels, and with every hurricane threatening a knock-out blow, it's getting harder to avoid that very unpopular question: How much longer can these coastal communities survive?

To get the answer Discovery News caught up with four Gulf Coast researchers and posed the question to them. Their answers differ, but they agree on one thing: The long-term prospects are not good.

"This is a discussion that should have occurred after Katrina," said Roy Dokka of Louisiana State University. Dokka has been outspoken about the measurable rates of subsidence -- the process by which land slips below sea level -- in New Orleans and other coastal areas. His work indicates that larger geological forces, far beyond the control of humans, are causing parts of New Orleans to sink.

Behind Cheney's Tough Talk in Georgia

Speaking in Georgia on Thursday, Cheney slammed Russia's "illegitimate, unilateral attempt" to redraw the country's borders, and promised ongoing support for Georgia's efforts to join NATO. The Vice President's trip was accompanied by a $1 billion aid package announced in Washington Wednesday, for the purpose of rebuilding Georgia's shattered economy and infrastructure. Still, the Russian campaign in Georgia has dramatically altered the geopolitical equation in the Caucasus, and it may take more than Cheney's signature tough talk to stiffen the spines of allies chastened by the Georgian experience. For many of those leaning Westward among former Soviet satellites, the lesson of Georgia has been the inability of the U.S. to save an ally emboldened to challenge Moscow once Russia sent in the tanks.

Political Will, Political Won't

The accepted wisdom of today's environmental reform movement is founded on two core assumptions. The first is that most of the technical solutions we need to address the world's various crises are available, or at least could be swiftly developed by sufficiently intelligent, hard-working people. The second assumption is that all that's lacking for a successful outcome is the political will to put these technical solutions into effect.

Whether the discussion turns to replacing coal-fired power plants with wind turbines and using electric cars instead of gas-driven SUVs, converting industrial agricultural practices to organic permaculture, or reversing the decline of ocean life though international regulations, it is an article of faith in the reform movement that we know what we need to do and all that's lacking is a sufficiently visionary leader to put more planet-friendly solutions in place.

Both those assumptions ignore significant aspects of the situation – aspects that must be addressed for the envisioned reforms to be successful. This article examines those two assumptions with an eye to uncovering the confounding issues.

Entergy to restore most Louisiana power in a week

Entergy officials said transmission service has been restored to 11 of 12 refiners in its territory and enough power should be available to the refiners to allow them to restart operations.

American Airlines may cut 469 jobs at airports

Mark Burdette, American's vice president of employee relations, said in a letter last week to the Transport Workers Union, that fewer people would be needed to operate the airline as the operating schedule is cut due to high oil pries and the softening economy.

Angry Argentine commuters torch train in rush hour

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Furious rail commuters in Argentina set fire to a train on Thursday in anger over delays during the morning rush hour.

Television images showed black smoke and flames engulfing the train at the station of Merlo, in the western suburbs of the capital, Buenos Aires. At nearby Castelar, passengers hurled stones at the ticket office and blocked the rails.

"Robin Hoods" steal at the store, give to the poor?

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek anarchists stormed a supermarket on Thursday and handed out food for free in the latest of a wave of raids provoked by soaring consumer prices.

Giving Your Hybrid an Extra Charge

Chris Cox of Derry, N.H., got tired of waiting for the electric car of the future. In August, he took matters into his own hands and had his 2008 Toyota Prius converted into a plug-in hybrid, which doubled its gas mileage — Cox now gets up to 100 miles per gallon for 30 to 40 miles at a stretch. Although the Prius is already a hybrid gas-electric model, the additional battery that Cox had installed enables him to travel more than 20 miles on all-electric power (compared to just two miles without it) before the gas engine kicks in.

Dutch Brewers Say Enthusiasm for Biofuels Waning

THE HAGUE - Enthusiasm for biofuels is receding and European legislators have become more sensitive to the needs of the food industry, hit by soaring commodities prices, the head of the Dutch brewers' association (CBK) says.

"I am not as afraid as last year that vast areas will be planted with rape seed, replacing grain crops," Jack Verhoek told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday. "I think wisdom has returned."

Bodman Says EIA Data Is `Reliable,' Unaware of Probe

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman today defended the reliability of market data supplied to the Energy Information Administration and said he was unaware of a probe of participants providing false information.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is examining whether certain players provided false data to the EIA, the statistical arm of the Energy Department, to benefit their trading positions. Bodman spoke to reporters after giving a speech in Washington.

The agency would not confirm or deny the investigation. Earlier this year the commission took the unusual step of announcing a nationwide investigation into the trading, purchase, shipping and storage of crude oil.

Big Three bailout may be around corner

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Plunging auto sales, high gas prices and election year politics could help convince Congress to approve a $50 billion loan package to embattled U.S. automakers that Detroit's Big Three claim is key to their future success.

As prices plunge, OPEC faces dilemma on oil production

NEW YORK: The decline in oil prices in recent weeks has been a welcome relief for consumers and a rare piece of positive news in an otherwise bleak economic landscape. But for oil producers, increasingly accustomed to rising revenues, falling prices are fast turning into a cause for concern - if not quite panic.

OPEC to Pump Record Amounts as $109 Oil Stunts Growth

(Bloomberg) -- OPEC, the supplier of 40 percent of the world's oil, will probably keep producing at a record pace as $109-a-barrel crude squeezes the global economy.

The 13-nation Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will reject calls from Venezuela and Iran to trim supplies at its Sept. 9 meeting in Vienna, according to 29 of the 32 energy analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

``They want to prevent a build-up of crude stocks, which rules out an increase, but don't want to send prices skyrocketing by announcing a cut,'' said Mike Wittner, head of oil research at Societe Generale SA in London. ``OPEC won't take any formal action.''

Gas guzzling temptation as prices fall

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Although it was a painful summer for most drivers, it could have been worse had Americans not cut back on their gasoline consumption. Now, as summer ends and gasoline prices fall, drivers may be tempted to resume their gas guzzling habits.

How Smarter Cars Could Power the Future

Stopping, starting and accelerating your car or SUV can burn unnecessary amounts of fuel while driving. To combat this known challenge, two new technologies have recently come out to provide a greener driving experience.

Nissan's Eco Pedal pushes back on a driver's lead foot, while Audi's Travolution tells a driver how fast to go to make the next green light.

Amid bluster over energy, Senate cuts a deal: GOP gets some drilling, nuclear, Democrats get wind, solar incentives

High energy prices have become a bitterly contested political issue. Republicans are bashing Democrats for standing in the way of drilling for more oil and gas at home, while Democrats retort that their rivals are misleading the American public by saying that such drilling would significantly lower prices. Yet amid the partisan bomb-throwing over America's future energy policy, Washington is actually making a rare effort to forge a compromise.

Over the summer a group of five GOP and five Democratic senators, dubbed the Gang of 10, hammered out a comprehensive energy proposal. And now, after taking withering heat from both left and right, the idea is gaining support.

US diplomat says trans-Caspian pipeline viable

A senior U.S. diplomat says a Western-backed gas pipeline from energy-rich Turkmenistan across the Caspian Sea to the European market remains a viable proposition despite the emergence of rival routes linking the country to Russia and China.

Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs George Krol said Thursday in a visit to the Turkmen capital that the immediate focus will be on investing in extraction of hydrocarbon resources.

Angola, oil-rich but poor, prepares for vote

The paradox of Angola is evident in its crowded capital, where the luxury cars of petro-millionaires lurch along dilapidated roads past piles of garbage and pools of stagnant water.

Cheney colleague admits bribery in Halliburton oil deals

A former colleague of the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has pleaded guilty to funnelling millions of dollars in bribes to win lucrative contracts in Nigeria for Halliburton, during the period in the Nineties when Mr Cheney ran the giant oil and gas services company.

Germany leads 'clean coal' pilot

Beneath the gargantuan grey boiler towers of Schwarze Pumpe power station which pierce the skies of northern Germany, a Lilliputian puzzle of metal boxes and shining canisters is about to mark a moment of industrial history.

This mini power plant is a pilot project for carbon capture and storage (CCS) - the first coal-fired plant in the world ready to capture and store its own CO2 emissions.

The Second Coming of Biofuels

Plant-based fuels have been a big disappointment to date, but new "green biofuels" might fulfill their promise.

Solar power companies face end of Spanish subsidies

VALENCIA, Spain: Growth in solar power installations in Italy may not be enough to offset shrinking global demand, Italian industry experts say.

Part of that reduced demand could come in Spain, where solar power companies face a drastic slowdown next year because the government is preparing to sharply reduce subsidies.

Toyota Releases “Sustainability Report 2008”, Looks to “Liquid Peak”

Concurrent with the release of its annual financial report, Toyota has published Sustainability Report 2008: Towards a New Future for People, Society, and the Planet. The report, which is the third since Toyota switched from environmental to sustainability reports in 2006, is structured around three themes: sustainable mobility (products), sustainable plant initiatives (manufacturing), and contributing to the development of a sustainable society—also referred to as “nurturing society.”

Why won't the candidates debate science?

Despite encouraging direct references to science and technology within speeches delivered at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, the two leading U.S. Presidential candidates still have not engaged in any head-on debate about science.

Gasoline prices remain painfully high, and 39 states are now bracing for water shortages, yet critical questions vital to human well-being have so far failed to grab much of the national limelight.

The Question Wall Street is Ignoring but the World Can’t: Is Oil Production Falling Faster Than Demand?

Every Wall Street forecast of where oil prices are headed next – up or down – seems to be based solely on the degree of “demand destruction” that can be expected. But what about “supply destruction?” Whatever the level of demand destruction, if supply destruction is greater, oil prices will rise, not fall.

Full recovery of Entergy grid weeks away

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Entergy Corp officials were able to restore two critical transmission lines overnight, allowing the state's largest utility to reconnect New Orleans to the statewide power grid, officials said on Wednesday.

The return of two 230-kilovolt lines knocked out by Hurricane Gustav will allow more power to be restored to homes and businesses in New Orleans and communities along the Mississippi River, full recovery of the state's largest utility grid is weeks away, Randy Helmick, Entergy's vice president of transmission and official "storm boss" told reporters on a call Wednesday.

U.S. Wind Power Doubles to More Than 20 Gigawatts in Two Years

The amount of wind power that the United States can generate has doubled to more than 20 gigawatts in the last two years, the American Wind Energy Association said Wednesday.

Renewable-energy policies, such as state mandates that require utilities to get a certain amount of their energy from renewable sources, have helped drive the growth of U.S. wind from 10 gigawatts in 2006.

Beyond Carbon: Scientists Worry About Nitrogen’s Effects

Public discussion of complicated climate change is largely reduced to carbon: carbon emissions, carbon footprints, carbon trading. But other chemicals have large roles in the planet’s health, and the one Dr. Giblin is looking for in Arctic mud, one that a growing number of other researchers are also concentrating on, is nitrogen.

In addition to having a role in climate change, nitrogen has a huge, probably more important biological impact through its presence in fertilizer. Peter Vitousek, a Stanford ecologist whose 1994 essay put nitrogen on the environmental map, co-authored a study this summer in the journal Nature that put greater attention on the nitrogen cycle and warned against ignoring it in favor of carbon benefits.

Oil riches propel Abu Dhabi onto world map

DUBAI (AFP) - Oil-rich Abu Dhabi, which this week boasted of taking over English football club Manchester City, is pumping billions of petrodollars into investments ranging from fine art to films to Formula One.

Riding on windfalls from record high oil prices, the wealthiest of the United Arab Emirates' seven members is starting to rival Dubai, its glamorous neighbour which has gained global fame through grandiose projects such as the world's tallest tower and palm tree-shaped man-made islands.

OPEC exports rise 110,000 bpd to Sept 20 - analyst

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC oil exports, excluding Angola and Ecuador, will rise by 110,000 barrels per day (bpd) in the four weeks to Sept. 20, an analyst who tracks future flows said on Thursday.

Seaborne crude exports from 11 OPEC members, including Iraq, will rise to 24.50 million bpd from 24.39 million bpd in the four weeks to Aug. 23, British consultancy Oil Movements said in its latest estimate.

While flows are rising, an increase in supplies from Saudi Arabia that boosted shipments in the summer has now been rolled back, the consultancy said. The extra oil is heading east due to poor demand in the west.

Why cheaper oil signals trouble

NEW YORK (Fortune) -- The commodities bubble appears to have popped, but keep the champagne on ice.

Food and energy prices are coming down in part because of a global growth slowdown that could also cool the red hot U.S. export sector - the major bright spot in an economy still struggling with a massive housing bust.

Sri Lanka port bunker supplies run low

(LBO) - Bunker oil stocks at Colombo are running low with a pending hand-over of a tank farm by the largest supplier to the port, and fresh stocks only due in mid-September, shipping officials said.

Indonesia: Fuel Crisis in Timika and Palu

TEMPO Interactive, Timika: For the past week, it has been difficult for Timika residents to obtain diesel and premium fuel. Meanwhile, Palu has run out of coal that is normally used to supply state-owned electricity company, PLN.

Eating Disorder

In the west we might have grown resentful over the cost of our weekly shop, but it’s nothing compared to the catastrophic food shortages faced by some developing states. Rising farming costs and decreasing crop yields, caused in part by a switch to biofuels, have driven up the prices of basic foodstuffs, in particular wheat, rice and oil.

Pawlak: Poland may use nuclear energy

Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Economy, Waldemar Pawlak, has announced the Ministry’s view on Poland’s future energy security. Poland’s energy policy plan till 2030 discussed by Waldemar Pawlak at a conference yesterday includes cooperation with Ukraine on nuclear energy, the construction of power plants, supervision over pipeline operators and facilitations in oil storage systems.

Honda's Prius-fighter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Honda Motor Co. unveiled a pure-hybrid concept car Thursday that hopes to go head to head with Toyota's wildly popular Prius.

The carmaker showed images of the Insight that will go on the sale in the United States in the spring, it said. The car, which will be sold only as a hybrid, will be a five-seat hatchback and will be priced "significantly below hybrids available today," Honda said in an announcement.

Firewood project gives warm feeling to those in need around South Shore

The Tahoe Firewood Project needs your help.

The project - a nonprofit program that gives free cords of wood to low-income seniors and disabled people throughout the South Shore - has plenty of wood from forest-thinning projects.

But it doesn't have enough people to split the wood and deliver it.

South Africa gold production falls 10 percent

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — Gold production in the world leading supplier South Africa fell more than 10 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, the industry said Thursday, blaming electricity shortages since the beginning of the year.

A dire fuel shortage caused by poor government planning forced rolling power cuts across the country in the first couple of months of the year. Since February, industries have been limited to 90 percent of their normal power usage.

"The key reason was the national electricity emergency," said a statement by the Chamber of Mines, which represents leading miners. It said the industry continues to bear much of the burden of power shortages and insisted other electricity users must urgently do more to cut power use "given the significant export earnings and employment intensity of mining."

S Africa plans to stop blackouts

A massive investment in new energy in South Africa is needed to prevent more power cuts, according to a senior government minister.

The Public Enterprises minister, Alec Erwin said that new power stations must be built, some of them nuclear.

An investment of at least 1 trillion rand (£72bn) was needed to secure a reliable electricity supply, he said.

U.S. must increase nuclear power - Energy Minister

LONDON (Reuters) - The United States needs to start generating more of its power from nuclear energy, but will still have to rely on coal and oil for the foreseeable future, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy said on Thursday.

Dennis Spurgeon told a nuclear energy industry conference in London that the era of cheap oil was over and action was needed to tackle an "energy crisis" facing the United States.

When is a fundamental a 'fundamental'? Some inconvenient geopolitical truths

But those waiting for NOCs to fill the supply breach by virtue of reserves, could prove to be disappointed. Even in states not running an active ‘depletion policy', NOCs will still find it difficult to extract sufficient reserves out of the ground. The point here is not to champion the role of IOCs (who are arguably paying a heavy price for focusing on shareholders rather than exploration for too long). Nor is it to denigrate National Oil Companies whose governance standards often leave much to be desired when operating overseas, and remain politically expedient at home when cutting IOCs in and out of production agreements. But rather, to highlight the fact that without a seismic shift in political capping of developing reserves, we are likely to meet our fourth and final ‘inconvenient truth'; namely, that speculation will be the last thing the world needs to worry about as supply-demand fundamentals run headlong into the limits of a ‘geopolitical peak'.

Pakistan: Power outages again trigger violent protest

PESHAWAR: Peshawarites staged a protest rally and blocked Grand Trunk (GT) Road for traffic Tuesday night against frequent power outages during Iftar and Sehar times.

Experiencing the worst kind of power cuts on first day of the holy month of Ramazan, the angry residents of City Town, Hashtnagri, Chowk Shadi Pir, Ghari Khana and adjacent areas came out on the roads and chanted slogans against the Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) and provincial government. They also pelted vehicles with stones, ripped apart signboards and damaged the shutters of several shops to vent anger.

Bangladesh: Power-loom workers go on rampage, set ablaze 12 cars

Hundreds of power-loom workers in Narsingdi forced into Chouala Palli Bidyut Samity-2 compound in protest at frequent power cuts, setting 12 vehicles on fire and damaging other valuables yesterday morning.

Around 700 workers rampaged through the power office at about 5:00am as production disruptions due to frequent power outages affected their wages, witnesses said.

The workers had been demanding uninterrupted power supply for the last two months. Earlier on August 24, they laid siege to the power office and put up barricades on Dhaka-Sylhet Highway to press home their demand, sources said.

Mexico: Protests in Juchitan against wind companies

For more than seven months, we, communal land owners from Juchitan de Zaragoza, Union Hidalgo and Xadani, have dealt with the irresponsibility of the civil judge of Juchitan de Zaragoza, Oaxaca, in front of whom we've placed more than 120 claims for the nullification of contracts we were deceived into signing with transnational wind energy corporations.

In England, solar power makes little sense

OK, so I have tried to counter some of the hype with economics, but the article from England shows another analog problem with the suitability of solar power. If you are at northern latitudes in a country with a lot of cloud cover, then that also changes the economics of solar. Hey, I am all for PV solar, it helps my friend and my town and my industry. But you have to have the intellectual honesty to appreciate the advice of the article that points out that in England, you would be better off putting in insulation with money you would have spent on solar.

Cheaper Gas, Calmer Debate

More evidence that American voters have the attention span of a hummingbird: The sudden drop in crude oil prices already appears to be reducing the potency of energy policy as a Presidential campaign issue. However, a somewhat lower profile for oil might not be such a bad thing when it comes to progress on crafting a serious energy policy, given that a free-for-all political campaign is hardly the best venue for hammering out an intelligent compromise.

Saudi begins pumping from new 500,000 bpd Khursaniyah field

The world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has started pumping crude from the 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) Khursaniyah field, a source at state oil giant Saudi Aramco said on Wednesday. The oilfield is the largest single increment to global oil production capacity for several years. First output was delayed from the scheduled start date in December 2007. “The facility is operational and producing crude,” the source said. He was unable to give more details on actual output or when all of Khursaniyah’s capacity would be ready to produce. “Its production rates are dependent on our (company’s) monthly production targets for each facility,” the source said. Khursaniyah will in theory take Saudi Arabia’s total production capacity to around 11.8 million bpd from around 11.3 million bpd. Actual sustainable capacity may be slightly lower due to field decline elsewhere.

Oil at $80 a Barrel?

In recent years, energy traders plus an active hurricane season have usually meant one thing for oil: higher prices. Yet with the departure of Hurricane Gustav, a rally for the embattled greenback is overshadowing new storm systems churning away in the Atlantic and showing how the prospect of a choppy U.S. economy is scaring traders far more these days than turbulent weather.

OPEC consensus building for supply cut - PFC

LONDON (Reuters) - Consensus is building within OPEC on the need to reduce oil output to prevent a supply overhang and prop up prices, analyst PFC Energy said in a report.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meets on Sept. 9 in Vienna. The group is pumping more oil than its official output target, largely due to higher output from Saudi Arabia, according to analyst estimates.

Saudi cuts light crude price to customers in US and Asia

SINGAPORE/LONDON: The world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, cut the price of its Arab Light crude oil in October to customers in Asia and the US, state oil firm Aramco said yesterday.

Aramco cut the price of Arab Light to Asia by 70¢ a barrel to parity with the Oman/Dubai average and reduced the price to the US by $1.40 to WTI minus $5.05, the company said.

Michael T. Klare: The Bush Administration Checkmated in Georgia

The recent fighting in the Caucasus is part of a bigger struggle between Moscow and Washington over the energy riches of the Caspian Sea basin.

August Auto Sales Flop

Heavy discounting and promotions have failed to attract buyers. Only Nissan reports positive August sales.

Australia: Time running out to put case for light rail

He showed a graphic of Sydney suburbs, indicated in red, which were vulnerable for the same reason, but the good news was green belts among the red indicated rail routes, which fully used could halve dependence on cars.

A new era in sustainability in which peak oil production could see petrol rise to $8 a litre required serious adjustment in transport.

Gold, Silver, Economy + More

And then there are the OPEC nations, who, together with US and UK big oil interests, have conspired to create a "peak oil" crisis, despite the fact that we have two centuries worth of untapped domestic oil and gas resources, while not a single domestic petroleum refinery has been built in over thirty years despite mega-profits that could have easily been invested in such refineries to ensure future supply. Yeah, let's blame the environmentalists, whose organizations and lobby groups were all created and funded by big oil and other Illuminist interests, while our nuclear plants were sabotaged and our inventors of efficient and clean methods of producing energy were bought out, threatened or murdered!

Nasa scientist appears in court to fan the flames of coal power station row

The Nasa scientist who first drew attention to global warming 20 years ago appeared in a British court yesterday as a key witness in support of climate change activists charged with damaging a power station.

...Prof Hansen, who has spoken out against the Bush administration's stance on global warming, said Britain had a responsibility to take a lead on limiting climate change because it was responsible – owing to its long industrial past – for much of the CO2 already in the atmosphere. Phasing out coal-burning power stations was crucial in tackling global warming, he told the court.

Regulators probing oil supply data: report

(Reuters) - Commodity market regulators are probing whether energy market players are injecting false crude oil supply data into the marketplace, the Wall Street Journal said.

Regulators are concerned that companies may be reporting inventory levels that benefit their own trading positions but may not be accurate, the paper said, citing people familiar with the probe.

Deal ends feud over BP's Russia venture

MOSCOW (AFP) - British and Russian shareholders on Thursday announced an end to a months-long feud for control of joint oil venture TNK-BP, in a move hailed by the Kremlin as a positive signal to foreign investors.

The agreement, which envisages the departure of British chief executive Robert Dudley but no shift in the balance of ownership, is "a sensible means of resolving a situation that could not continue without causing serious damage" to TNK-BP, BP chief executive Tony Hayward said in a statement.

Opec invites Brazil to join group

Iran has invited Brazil to join oil producers' cartel Opec, Brazil's energy and mines minister has said.

The moves comes after Brazil recently announced finding major sources of offshore oil, prompting significant international attention.

Brazil is considering the invite. Its National Energy Policy Council has the final word on whether it wants to join.

Oil to weaken until OPEC gives policy signal: Barclays

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices are likely to remain under pressure until OPEC gives a clear signal on pricing/production policy, Barclays Capital said on Thursday.

"We suspect that prices will continue to test the downside until key oil producers provide more of an indication as to what will drive their policy, in terms of stating what is a fair and defensible price," the bank said in research note.

Oil Producers May Compel Opec to Cut Supply

There are indications that major oil producers may compel Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut supply when the group meets on September 9, in Vienna, Austria.

Kazakh Kashagan might start oil production in 2014

ASTANA (Reuters) - Commercial production at Kazakhstan's giant Kashagan oil field is expected to start later than the agreed 2013 launch date, a Kazakh oil industry official said on Thursday.

Tumir Kulibayev, head of the influential KazEnergy association whose members include major Kazakh oil companies including state-owned KazMunaiGas, said the delay would be technical and would not mean a breach of the contract.

"They are talking about October 2013, but it would be impossible to launch (the production) during the winter so it will be 2014," Kulibayev told an energy conference.

Huge power outages; some production

GOOD NEWS: A limited amount of oil and gas production has been restarted in the Gulf of Mexico with growing evidence that the nation's energy complex avoided a disaster in Hurricane Gustav. Damage also appeared limited at the crucial Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, which handles about 12 percent of the nation's crude imports.

BAD NEWS: More than a million customers in the region are without power, including some refineries that process oil into gasoline and diesel. In Louisana, New Orleans and Baton Rouge were particularly hard hit.

Helicopter strikes oil rig off Dubai coast; 7 dead

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Oil companies say a helicopter carrying contractors has crashed into an oil-drilling platform off the coast of Dubai, killing seven people.

Petrofac and Dubai Petroleum say the helicopter operated by Dubai-based Aerogulf Services struck the deck of the Maersk rig during takeoff at about 8:20 p.m. Wednesday. A fire then broke out aboard the rig, which is located in the Rashid field about 40 miles (70 kilometers) offshore.

Poverty fears over wind power

Half a million people could be pushed into fuel poverty by the UK's drive for wind power, the government's former chief scientific adviser has said.

Sir David King said: "If we overdo wind we are going to put up the price of electricity and that means more people will fall into the fuel poverty trap."

Gas prices confine sick people

Sick Americans who travel far or frequently to get medical treatment are skipping or delaying appointments, leaving support groups and applying for grants to defray high gasoline prices.

People who visit the doctor multiple times each week or month, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and people needing dialysis, have been hardest hit.

At the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, some skin cancer patients are delaying appointments because they can't afford gasoline, patient service representative Nicole Vliet says.

"It could be just a follow-up appointment, or it could affect their treatment," she says. "I really started to notice it in April when prices started to go up."

British Car Market Runs Out Of Gas

New car registrations in Britain fell 18.6% in the year to August, signalling the weakest market since 1966.

British military reacting to climate change

LONDON - Climate change is forcing the British military to tailor its strategy and equipment for more extreme weather, a junior defense minister said Wednesday.

Under-Secretary of State for Defense Derek Twigg said the British military was working on heat-resistant medical supplies and ways to reduce the weight carried by its soldiers in anticipation of hotter battlefields.

"We've moved beyond merely theorizing whether climate change has ramifications for defense. We know it will," Twigg told a conference on climate change and security at the Royal United Services Institute in London.

World's strongest hurricanes could be getting stronger

The strongest hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean have become more intense due to global warming over the past 25 years, according to a new study in Wednesday's edition of the British journal Nature. The findings add fuel to the simmering argument in the meteorological community about the Earth's changing climate, and its relationship to the power of tropical systems worldwide.

Scientists from Florida State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison analyzed satellite data from nearly 2,000 tropical cyclones around the world from 1981 to 2006, and found that the strongest storms are getting stronger, especially over the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Re: GOP Emphasis on Freeing Ourselves From Our Dependency on Imported Oil

I have good news for the GOP.

We will probably be free of Mexican oil imports by 2012. We will probably be free of Norwegian and Russian oil imports by 2025. We will probably be free of Venezuelan oil imports by 2028. We will probably be free of Saudi oil imports by 2031.


Those are the dates that I expect to see the respective countries approaching zero net oil exports, although Venezuela is a bit of a wild card. In any case the GOP is telling us that we can maintain Business As Usual, as we replace oil imports with increased US oil production and other forms of energy. The Democrats really aren't any better on energy, but I think that they are at least trying to sell us less of an energy fantasy than the GOP is regarding domestic oil production.

Consider five of the (2005) top 10 net oil exporters (accounting for half of world net oil exports in 2005):

Saudi Arabia is showing a year over year increase in production--that will result in their net oil exports probably being at about 8.4 mbpd for 2008, versus their 2005 rate of 9.1 mbpd (our middle case has them approaching zero net oil exports in about 23 years).

Russia is showing lower production, with a sizable decline in oil exports (our middle case has them approaching zero net oil exports in about 17 years).

Norway is in terminal decline (our middle case has them approaching zero net oil exports in about 17 years).

Venezuela has shown an average decline of 100,000 bpd per year in net exports for 10 straight years. Extrapolating this out would have them approaching zero in about 20 years, although their bitumen production rate is a wild card.

Mexico’s net exports are crashing, in tandem with the collapse of what was the world’s second largest producing field. They will probably approach zero net oil exports in two to four years.

Palin's speech last night was short on specifics and long on fuzzy feel-good stuff:

Americans, we need to produce more of our own oil and gas...and take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: We've got lots of both.

Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines, and build more nuclear plants, and create jobs with clean coal, and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.

Something for everyone. Enough even for hubby Todd to keep racing his "snow machine."

WT, a question (and sorry if I've missed it): Have you guys attempted to aggregate, by country, net exports to develop a global net export model?

Re: Global Net Export Model

My evaluation so far is that there are too many variables, especially regarding trying to model the unconventional production, e.g., Venezuela--which has great unconventional promise, but which has shown 10 years of declining net oil exports. I suspect that slowly increasing unconventional production in Venezuela will primarily serve to offset falling conventional production and increasing consumption.

My guess is that total world net oil exports in 2031 will be at 25% or less of the 2005 rate.

How about a net-export model for the State (some wish Nation) of Alaska?

I wasn't trying to be facetious. I see elsewhere on TOD that Prudhoe is in 11% decline, but I can't find anything highlighting AK as a whole. Also, what's going on with Alaskan consumption? What projects outside of ANWR are coming online? What are the prospects of Alaska increasing its ability to meet U.S. energy demand? What portion of Alaskan production is exported to non-U.S. markets?

Good questions. A major post on Alaska oil would be appreciated and timely. I am especially curious as to the non-US exports. IIRC, most initial North Slope oil went to Asia.

Peak Oil is so glaringly obvious to anyone who goes through the data, yet it seems there's nothing being done about it. Here in Australia I rarely here of any discussion on energy, and even if people believe it, they seem to think it won't be so bad, we'll just use trams and trains but still enjoy a high standard of living. Many people still don't know about the concept or are in denial. It's like a bad dream, almost surreal that this is happening. The moment that govts and people officially recognize peak, there will be a huge panic and a rush for alternatives, which will probably lead to exporting countries reducing their oil output for themselves and in the cost of alternatives soaring due to increased demand.

Most everyone will know soon enough -and even then there will be some deniers- so why not go with your beliefs and make yourself (and a few key friends) so stinking rich by gearing your portfolio to benefit that you really couldn't give a rats ass what is happening to everyone else 'cus your freeweelin' on your own island...

OK, that's a bit cras but if people don't want to learn and plan/hedge/insure a little for a possible future then they must live with the consequences.


Thomas Friedman wrote a good op-ed on the NYT a few days ago.

And Then There Was One

I think he got the politics of the energy situation about right. His commentary is running at #1 on the NYT's most e-mailed list.

E. Swanson

not a Friedman fan but i agree he is on re palin/mccain making choices putting them clearly in the bush/cheney/ big oil camp; drill, drill, drill + global warming denier just like big oil!

Great editorial.

One could substitute a number of countries for "Russia"...

Palin’s nomination for vice president and her desire to allow drilling in the Alaskan wilderness “reminded me of a lunch I had three and half years ago with one of the Russian trade attachés,” global trade consultant Edward Goldberg said to me. “After much wine, this gentleman told me that his country was very pleased that the Bush administration wanted to drill in the Alaskan wilderness. In his opinion, the amount of product one could actually derive from there was negligible in terms of needs. However, it signified that the Bush administration was not planning to do anything to create alternative energy, which of course would threaten the economic growth of Russia.”

Washington Post editorial supports 19 cent/gallon gas tax



a perfect government would have taxed oil progressively with the income directed at energy and infrastructure reforms over the past few decades, but unfortunately, we have a government that taxes oil and uses the proceeds to build bridges to nowhere, fund massive entitlements and a imperial military force. Obviously we don't even come close to having a responsible government and haven't for a very long time. So don't look to them to do the right thing until the right thing holds them down, twists their arm till it breaks and them waterboards them for a while. Its up to us to help industry go in the right direction and we're very alone in that task.

Near perfect expression of the futility of a gas tax.

Irresponsible government will use it against its own people in pursuit of its own ends.

Hi Greg,

re: "Its up to us to help industry go in the right direction and we're very alone in that task."

Could you possibly elaborate?

What is the "right direction" for the industry to go in?

What are the factors within the industry that prevent them(it) from doing so?

How is it we (I should say "Who's the 'we'?" but anyway...) can help them?

Actually, who is the "we"? Shareholders, for eg.? If shareholders demanded lower profits and...attempted to control the end-uses of oil? (Like, for...?)

Regulators probing oil supply data: report

Surprise! Surprise!

Maybe memmel, with his frequent warnings that you cannot rely on EIA supply and demand data, that it's cooked, isn't such a conspiracy kook after all.

These are heady days for the bubble theorists who now argue they were right all along--that the huge runup and then crashing of oil prices was caused by "speculators."

But there is some serious cognitive disconnect here. There's a big difference between oil and gas traders who base their wrong decisions on falsified information vs. those whose wrong decisions are caused by getting carried away by emotion.

These latest revelations are all so Enronesque, but this is of course lost on the bubble theorists.

If the argument presented here is right:

Thursday's regular market trading session and after-market action was unprecedented in it's scope and range. What happened is that most large cap stocks that had a higher closing price at the end of the day closed down by exactly the same dollar amount in after-hours trading.

then the financial markets are also being massively gamed, which would clearly imply that the oil market may be too.
The objections to this idea that massive losses would be incurred, as to make money you have to get it right, are perhaps not correct if the player is, say, a Government with access to hundreds of billions and where any losses will in any case be borne by the taxpayer, and in addition it has the ability to encourage, say, an invasion and consequent price hike and know that this will happen ahead of time.
I have never been a conspiracy theorist, but....

Say it's true. Then wo profits, and who pays?

And if it is some sort of conspiracy, then why would they make it so transparently obvious?

If the data given is right, then the system must presumably be being gamed.
The data is a matter of public record, and so is checkable.
I am hoping someone who is familiar with the markets will have a look, as I know too little about them to spot any flaws in reasoning.
The critical date is August 28th, according to the article.

Ilargi at The Automatic Earth has already posted on this.


Who decided to open NYMEX on Labor Day?

The entire System is rigged.

And the people rigging it have now fallen for their own AgitProp.

We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel trucks for maintenance of bridges, cleaning culverts to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables, all from far away. With the highways out, there will be no food coming in from "outside," and without the power grid virtually nothing works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated systems.

After the last power black out, the people living in rural areas will find that surviving will become increasing difficult without all of the goods from the “outside” (food, canning jars, fencing, roofing, hay, straw, seed, animal feed, plastic tarps, fertilizer, clothes, fabric, medicine, hardware, saws, wood stoves, etc.). The survivors will be the very few who live in areas with good rain and soil and who prepared intelligently for a life without oil.
Posted by Clifford J. Wirth, Ph.D.

New Orleans has seen it's last evacuation.

The people there now will not leave again.

And with 13 of the 14 main transmission lines down TPTB still want to fill the Superdome for fun filled bread and circus.

Who decided to open NYMEX on Labor Day?

The NYMEX was not open on Labor Day. Electronic trading was open labor day, just as it is almost every other holiday. Electronic trading starts every Sunday afternoon at 4 PM and trades trades until Friday.

"almost every other holiday."

Got a list? Thanx.

No because the policy has only recently been started. I suspect electronic trading will happen only on minor holidays, remaining closed on Christmas, New Years, Memorial Day, Independence day and Thanksgiving. (The big 5.) And I was mistaken, electronic trading starts at 6 PM Eastern time on Sunday, not 4 PM.

I found it.

New Year's, Good Friday, Xmas-2 Christian Holidays
and New Years.



Or the oil market investigation could be just an attempt to show that the Bush Administration is "doing something" (before the election) about alleged oil price manipulation.

memmel's theory is that during the huge runup that the markets were being manipulated artifically upwards by the engineering of supplies.

He furthermore contends that as we speak the markets are being finessed downwards by the jockeying of supplies.

Of course this latter point is lost on the bubble theorists, who somehow believe that manipulation only leads to higher prices. They are blind to the fact that, if markets are so easily manipulated upwards, then they can also just as easily be manipulated downwards.

Of course the stakes are high, not only for traders but for politicians and diplomats as well.

We're in a command economy now.

Update from NOLA:

BAD NEWS: More than a million customers in the region are without power, including some refineries that process oil into gasoline and diesel. In Louisana, New Orleans and Baton Rouge were particularly hard hit.

THE OUTLOOK: It's still difficult to say, because inspections are continuing, but oil companies were hopeful to begin some production in the next few days. For refineries, it could take a week or even more, depending on their size. But Hurricane Ike and Tropical Storm Josephine are headed west across the Atlantic Ocean."


The BR to NO to LOOP has been described by Nagin's "Entergy/CLECO
man" as an island that's been cut off.

13 of 14 transmission lines are down.

We're hearing nothing from Houma/Morgan City.

But all oil/gas is moving out of the area just fine?

Baton Rouge was hard hit, New Orleans was not.


Sewage is an issue in neighboring parishes (including Jefferson) due to lack of electricity for sewage lift pumps, but not a concern in New Orleans.

Two more transmission lines, one East and the other West are back up, ending electrical island status, but still weak. Traffic coming back on I-10 West is OK, unsure about other routes.

Zara's, my neighborhood grocery store, re-opened yesterday at 1:30 PM. Supplies coming in to restock. Milk, etc. still good after 11 hour power outage. (I suspect shorter shelf life though, but drinkable for breakfast today).


I posted this Tuesday, and it hasn't changed:

The Saints will play their home opener as scheduled, Noon on Sunday, the Superdome.

Lift pumps are another matter, but here is some information on a sewage processing plant that generates its own power:

"Simply put, cogeneration is a process through which electricity and heat are produced from burning fuel (or methane gas created by the wastewater treatment process). Cogeneration accounts for around 7 percent of world power production and more than 40 percent of power production in some European countries.

The cogeneration facility at the Pickard Centre converts 32 percent of the available energy in the digester gas to electrical energy (electricity) and 48 percent to thermal energy (heat). This electrical power and heat is used to operate the Pickard Centre."

"Cogeneration accounts for around 7 percent of world power production and more than 40 percent of power production in some European countries."

With the constraints to food production we are faceing it looks like this methode of energy is limited.

Dare I say it? Ah what the hell Peak Poo.

The waste of not using the waste is ludicrous. This is even more so with municipal garbage, trucked who knows how far to specially lined pits. I'm not advocating necessarily farm or forest waste to energy plants, but municipal waste is another matter.

Mayor Nagin said that, as of noon today, 70% of meters had power in Orleans Parish. Over 95% are expected to have power by Saturday evening.

Joe Zara has the home and cell # of all this delivery truck driver5s and their managers. He says that he should have a delivery on "just about everything" by tomorrow.

VERY busy store. No bread left and very little milk (whole half gallons only).


Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the toplink: "Regulators probing oil supply data: report"

Wow!--that can really open up a can of ugly worms if it turns out to be true. Too bad the article doesn't go into naming the companies that regulators are now taking depositions from the employees. Could be a potential boomtime for lawyers if this goes all the way up to the executive or emir or prince level.

Let me know when our regulators can probe oil reserve data from Saudi Arabia.

Hello Super390,

Thxs for responding. I would imagine Matt Simmons would be among the first to know when regulators can finally transparently probe/audit oil reserve data from KSA. But production flowrates might be much more easier to investigate if some people are cooking their books.

Imagine a VLCC carrying only 90% of a full load [simultaneously takes on water ballast to fool the tanker monitors], but KSA tells the IEA/EIA that it was at 100%. The refinery, if in on the game too, through refinery gains and refinery losses to process this crude to the finished products can probably get most of this 10% back with some clever accounting. Don't forget the energy required to pull the sulfur out of the oil--which they currently sell for a very handsome profit. The producer & refiner can split the profits on this 10% plus the sulfur profits [or some variation thereof]. Over time, as the market gets undersupplied, then the price ratchets ups to $147/bbl. By reversing this process plus some other tricks: you can gradually force the price in a downward direction. My feeble two cents--feel free to elaborate or refute.

Seems like too many people would have to be in on the plot; I don't know how long one could expect to keep this secret.

Antoinetta III

I'm from Czech republic, sorry for my poor English.
It is little bit off topic... I have question, do you anybody know what is this?

That's the Strategic Coffin Reserve.

I'm from Czech republic, sorry for my poor English.
It is little bit off topic... I have question, do you anybody know what is this?

I think they are to big to be coffins, and why coffins and not plastic bags(they are more cheap)...and were is the top, the cap of the coffin its looks to me that they are some industrial containers...

And Alex Jones is a scam is doing a lot of disservice to the true movement, it's making every attempt to see thinks and see behind conspiracies look stupid !

Portable toilets

I think those are the new FEMA trailers. This time, you have to supply your own formaldehyde.

All medium and low-end RV's are made with laminates - which means formaldehydes. They have always been made that way. All you need to do is open the windows and vents and let them airout.

I think they are really coffins and are there for the event of a national emergency. Should there be a pandemic, like a bird flu outbreak, or something similar, they would be needed. They would prevent a further outbreak of cholera or some similar disease. There is no conspiracy here, just preparations.

The idea that body bags would be cheaper is just not the case. You cannot stack or easily handle bodies in bags. And at any rate, you would still need body bags to seal the bodies in, inside these plastic coffins.

Hello Darwinian,

I agree. Leaking body fluids from an infected dying person and/or fresh corpse are extremely dangerous. If we don't have the postPeak resources to safely treat them; a huge triage situation where the Overshoot are placed into this container is the best bet to help protect others from getting infected.

Harsh? Sadly, unfortunately, tragically yes. But if untold millions are bleeding out from every orifice, even their eyes and skin itself, from an Ebola/Smallpox/Sars type of disease outbreak--we won't have a choice. Once the person is dead, I would expect they, and their death excreta, would then get a strong dousing with a powerful disinfectant, acid, or lime to hopefully kill the remaining pathogens.

Now you've got me all hungry, and I have to wait over an hour before lunch. Thanks a lot!

I thought a quick burial/cremation would be easier then stacking them in coffins. Yes, it may not be dignified but when there's a pandemic going on, survival of the healthy ones is important.

Vitame vas v TOD

Most of us are from America. We're sorry for our bad English too. :)

Yep, they are coffins.


Nope, we were all wrong, they are plastic vaults. The link above posted by Rethin proves it. These vaults are placed over the coffin when buried. The base of the vault is below the coffin and the vault is placed over it. The things the narrator called lids were actually the base of the vault. It goes on the bottom, under the coffin.


So it is.

I just thought "vault" was just a new nicer way to say coffin.

But now we are left with the question, Who is storing thousands of vaults and for what purpose?

Ah, mystery solved.

From comment 401 on this page

Hey, we can put this to rest, audit the books of Vantage! They are in Covington Georgia. Here is their response to this video:
The property on Lions Club Road in Madison, Georgia is leased by Vantage

The product stored on the property are standard burial vaults, please see
our web page for information on this product - http://www.vantageproducts.com

The majority of cemeteries across the United States require the use of a
burial vault when a body is interred. The use of a burial vault, plastic or
concrete, is to prevent the collapse of the ground in the cemetery
and to protect the casket placed inside.

In the funeral and/or death care industry there is a common practice of
people making their funeral arrangements prior to death. Many people
like to make their own selections for the casket and burial vaults that will
be used at the time of their death. Once this selection has been made
the local funeral home that has made the arrangements can purchase the
burial vault product from Vantage Products and we will store it for them
until that person dies.

We maintain detailed records of ownership of the products and require a
certificate of ownership to be sent to us before products can be released.
Additionally, we are annually audited by several states including Georgia
to insure that we have all of the products that our records indicate and
that are on file with each of the participating states.

These products are not owned by any one individual person, company or the
government. Additionally, there are only about 50,000 vaults in storage in
Madison, no where near the quantity that is being discussed openly on
the net.

In the United States there are approximately 1,300,000 deaths each year.
Of those deaths there are about 900,000 in ground burials preformed
every year. Only a small percentage of those people have pre arranged
there burial.

I hope this has answered you questions. Please do not hesitate to contact
me if you have additional questions.


Michael A. Lacy
Vice President of Operations
Vantage Products Corporation
960 Almon Road
Covington, GA 30014
770-788-0136 Office
770-788-0361 Fax
404-545-8022 Cell

Regarding "Gas prices confine sick people" article:

I live in a county seat of 15,000 in SE Ohio and treat a lot of rural patients who might live 10 to 50 miles from the "city". I can say I have patients on a nearly daily basis decline treatment on account of gas prices. This seems especially true of physical therapy which might require 12 treatments over the course of a month. some public assistance patients often receive gasoline vouchers but the uninsured and working poor and in especially bad shape. Several small hospitals have closed down recently and so there are several counties in my neck of the woods with no access to even basic hospital treatment or testing which exacerbates the problem.

Athens, Logan, Jackson, Gallipolis, Or Marietta??


What is going to happen to those people? Pretty unbelievable from this side of the pond they are just left to rot away.

On my side of the pond, social engineering now means lowering people's standards of humanity.

Before Hubbert's Peak, it made a great deal of sense to consolidate medical facilities around the United States: it gave people in those areas access to more specialists than they would have otherwise.

Now we don't just have to reopen smaller hospitals in places like SE Ohio. We have to change the composition of medical residency programs to increase the numbers of GPs coming out. There is no way to do that overnight.

Eventually, or maybe sooner, it may become impossible to avoid telling some that, like it or not, they must move into town. The days of cottage industry in medicine, as in other fields, have in some respects gone forever. As medicine keeps getting more complicated, and as governments and moralizers (often inseparable) steadily impose ever more costly "standards" whether needed or not, more and more medical conditions call for treatments requiring facilities that can only be provided at big institutions with big support staffs. Those will generally be found in or near cities, which provide the necessary population base.

I really don't expect the problem to be understandable from the European side of the pond, at least not at the "gut level". After all, outside of Russia and northern Scandinavia, you've got hardly any places that I would ever conceive of as truly rural - if a city of at least some size is just over the horizon rather than directly visible, that's about as "rural" as it usually gets. Possibly for this reason, Europeans seem utterly to lack any concept of wide-open spaces - as they have demonstrated now and again by heedlessly sending armies to oblivion in the vastnesses of Russia. This is one reason why I don't identify with, say, snotty moralizing by Europeans who have never in their lives been outside a city, about motor-fuel taxes and the like.

"Eventually, or maybe sooner, it may become impossible to avoid telling some that, like it or not, they must move into town"

Yes. Very few of these patients live in the boonies for reasons that are productive for society. It used to be that such living locations were for people who farmed, timbered or worked in the nearby coal mines. Now, for the most part, these people live in the middle of nowhere bc/ they don't want to have neighbors and bc/ of some nostalgia about rural living. The other thing that makes it difficult to feel too sorry for them is that many of these rural people who can't afford gas do manage to find the $3 to $6 per day that they need to support their cigarette habit and although they may live in a $15,000 trailer, they drive a $30,000 SUV or full sized truck (or at least that's what it used to be worth).

I disagree.

Very few of these patients live in the boonies for reasons that are productive for society.

If I'm diagnosed with cancer tomorrow, my best treatment is over 100 miles away; but I've lived here for fifteen years. And if I'm diagnosed with cancer, it may not be in my families best interest to try and relocate suddenly.

People live where they do long before they become patients.

Our medical system favors putting all of the specialists near major metro centers so they can be close to transportation, population, whatever, but don't blame people who get sick and then have to travel for treatment.

People live where they do for a variety of reasons, it's interesting that you would judge anyone far from a hospital as "not productive to society."

He didn't say they were not productive to society. He said the reasons they were living where they were living are not productive to society. Big difference.

IMO, this is something peak oilers often miss. Many think the rural life will be better than urban hell in the post-carbon age. But most of the people who live in rural areas today are not farmers, or miners, or anything else on the non-discretionary site of the economy. They often find themselves having to drive long distances for low-paying jobs. They know about as much about farming as city folk. In other words...they're in as bad a shape as people living in suburbia, maybe worse.


In many, but NOT all, rural areas, exurban commuters that commute to the city/town are a very large % of the population. Many have what my grandfather called "toy farms".

In a total social collapse, better than many urban alternatives. But in a slow decline, they will be the first ones squeezed out, with lack of medical care being one of several pressures.


Around here, they are apt to be unemployed loggers, fisherman, mill workers and the like. They were born here, they didn't choose to live here and they certainly aren't choosing to be non-productive.

However, they often have no skills that are marketable in the Big City, and even if they did, they can't sell their house and move.

Also, most people don't need high tech medicine -- that is heavily over-hyped and oversold. However, if one thinks one needs such a thing, it it best to get to the city, since it can't possibly be provided in a small town or rural area. The purpose of high-tech medicine isn't so much to take care of patients (though admittedly, it sometimes accomplishes that purpose) but to make profits for large organizations and their shareholders.

"He didn't say they were not productive to society. He said the reasons they were living where they were living are not productive to society. Big difference."

Right, or another way of saying it is that their productivity has nothing to do with where they live. If you live on 30 acres and do nothing with it except ride your 4 wheeler on it, and you commute 40 miles in a Ford F150 to a job in the next county over as a corrections officer or nurse's aid and you make $12.50 per hour- well, these sort of driving and living habits are not going to be sustained for long. Hopefully the market will improve for small farms and we'll eventually see this 30 acre plot and its double wide trailer turned back into a small family farm someday, or managed responsibly for timber.

"don't blame people who get sick and then have to travel for treatment"

The meme that compels us always to attach blame is really worse than useless at times. Blame does not necessarily enter the picture (though no non-farmer absolutely has to live in the exurbs.) No matter who you are or where you live, your circumstances can change in a way which makes the place where you live unsuitable for you. It may be possible to alter the circumstances, but sometimes you may simply need to move. And you would hardly be the first one who ever had to live separately from your family for a time, even a long time, even the rest of your life, due to illness or other causes.

Deal with it: one of our big social problems in the USA is that we seem to be far past peak grownups.

"Deal with it: one of our big social problems in the USA is that we seem to be far past peak grownups."


I urge everyone in TOD to see the Youtube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m9AM6QFO8w and consider that this technology was invented already year 1896. It works and its real.

I have one working on my table. As Albert Einstein once said, the only difference between stupidity and intelligence is that intelligence has it limits. Go see northern lights and think again.

As soon as I perfect my perpetual motion device, we will only need oil for petrochemicals. If anyone wants to invest in my project, you can contact me at 1-800-SUCKER.

Not so, WT! I'm working on an Endless Matter process to supply all the molecular "stuff".

I also need funding. Please call 1-900-DUMBASS for more info.

You're presenting to a tough crowd. At the VERY least, please tell us the particulars. The Video, like so many on YouTube, has made no attempt to tell us what kind of wattage those lights drew, how long the battery was running the Vortex setup, etc. Doctor Who was less enigmatic than this..

The video suggested that in the future, they hoped to do this same thing without the battery. I would hope to run my car without gas, too, but I think I'd have to at least present the Car with a plausible reason for carrying me around without offering any inputs.

WHAT have you got on your desk?
Did you make it?
What is the basis?
How much power do you get out and how much do you put in?
What are the inefficiencies that you hope to conquer to put you into overunity, or can you say you there already?

ps, I'm sure Einstein would want to see some evidence here, too, and would be gracious enough to not suggest someone is stupid for challenging oft-repeated and elusive claims. If you want to tie this in to the Aurora Borealis, please make that case as well.



How does that go? -- Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, I believe.

Not enough detail (i.e. numbers like what Bob is asking for) in the video even to warrant looking into, in my view.

Were you refering to the aurora borealis? The lites
caused by solar flares from the sun exciting the ionosphere? What has that got to do with magnetic motors? Why arent you on CNBC right now with you're motor?
The American broad markets are hemoraging and you own
the philosopher's stone? As soon as I dry this water off from my swim in the fountain of youth, Iam gonna build me one of those motors.

Why did you get a minus 2? That was funny.

It would have been a lot simpler just to hook the light bulbs up directly to the deWalt batteries, and then you wouldn't lose energy to friction and air resistance by turning the flywheels.


Conventional physics says that it is "impossible" for magnets to provide a primary energy source. Yet thousands of researchers worldwide have been pursuing the task of building a working magnet motor. Many claim to have achieved this objective. None has reached the marketplace yet.

0 for 1000

Quote the Wiki

Magnets do contain some energy just like electric fields contain some energy, but for household magnets the amount is tiny. For example, the energy that powers a spark plug is stored in a magnetic coil. Solar flares are also powered by pent-up magnetic energy.

In the case of a household magnet, heating it past the Curie temperature will release its energy (which can be observed by the magnet heating slightly more than one would expect).

What cannot be done is to get energy from a magnet without reducing its magnetization by a like amount, just like you cannot drain a capacitor without emptying it. Perhaps this confusion is why the fraudsters just love to play the free energy from magnets card.

This was posted on DB a few days ago...but bears repeating here. Seems our friend Goofy had similar ideas like this some time ago:


Regarding the article "Nasa scientist appears in court" concerning Prof Hansen.
I believe I saw on FSTV or maybe LINK-TV about how he
was railroaded from a position for speaking the truth
about global warming.
I did a cursory search and couldnt locate it though.
Could be a different prof Hansen maybe?

I think it's the same Hansen. He wasn't railroaded from his position, but he was muzzled. By a Bush appointee who was in his early twenties. And turned out to have lied on his resume. Claimed to have a degree from Texas A&M, but in fact never graduated.

Another important point here is that the 24 year-old lying college drop-out had no scientific training, yet he was editing scientific manuscripts written by these guys. It's worse than just muzzled.

The weekly petroleum supply report will not be out until 11:00 AM EDT. That is a delay of 25 minutes.

The natural gas report did come on time and injections were up 90 bcf.

"just as it is almost every other holiday."

"That is a delay of 25 minutes."

The data is released at almost the exact time.

Who's the gatekeeper?

Follow the money.

Good gravy. It's not like it hasn't been delayed before. It's people preparing the report, and sometimes they're late. Sometimes there are even typos.

The EIA has their rules and decide when the data will be released. They are not affiliated with the NYMEX who themselves decide when floor trading and/or electronic trading will open and close. There is no one gatekeeper. Why should there be?

Follow the money??? What money? The EIA is just trying to keep things in order and stop any fraud that might be happening. They suspect that some reporting agencies are manipulating their data to influence prices. That is they may be understating gasoline inventories in order to drive up the price and increase the crack spread.

Like the SEC?

XOM can count unproven reserves.

I'm sure you still have your reasons for trusting
in stats.

But there's $1000 Trillion in derivatives out there
that's now worth pennies on the dollar.

Religion always fades before power.

You think the EIA can stand up to it?

And about Leanan saying delays happen.

I used to watch treasuries 10 minutes before these reports.

I've seen too many violent "against the CW" moves at these times
to trust that inside info isn't being acted upon.

And no one here believes that the privately owned Fed Res
doesn't know what the Unemployment report is befroe it's official

Ike is a monster.

Nate said he heard Ike is an annular hurricane, but I haven't seen any confirmation.

perhaps they should rename it "ITEOTWAWKI"

Local meteorologists call Ike "small but intense".


Annulars are very rare and a bit undiagnosable, like fibromyalgia - but I did see several pro mets refer to that formation last night.

FYI - (since PG and I are wont to repeat last weekend), I emailed Chuck Watson of KAC/UCF about his current models on Ike:

Technically we have model runs out to 15 days. In house, we call 0-72 hours "forecasts", 72-120 hours "short term outlooks", 120-240 hrs (10 days) "medium range outlooks", and over 240 hours/10 days "toilet paper", er, "extended outlooks". It looks like Ike is about a 30% chance of curving offshore between NC and Bermuda, 10% chance of Hatteras, 20% SE Atlantic (GA/SC), 20% across Florida and into the Gulf, 20% across the the Caribbean or southern GOMEX. I'm adding electrical outages to the public outputs for Ike.

From the Wunder Blog:

Hurricane Ike has become a large and dangerous Cape Verdes-type hurricane much earlier than expected. With a remarkable burst of rapid intensification, Ike went from a tropical storm with 70 mph winds to a Category 4 hurricane with 135 mph winds in just 12 hours. We're lucky Ike wasn't bearing down on the Florida Keys, Tampa, or some other vulnerable populated area when this very rapid and unforecast strengthening occurred. There would have been no time to evacuate, resulting in heavy loss of life. It's situations like this that scare the bejeebers out of hurricane forecasters, and make us call for the very reasonable sums of money needed to be invested to improve hurricane intensity forecasts. We can do much better with intensity forecasts if we spend a few tens of millions per year more in such efforts. The payoff could well be the ability to foresee rapid intensification like Ike's, and prevent a major catastrophe.

Tropical quartet: 4 storms with more to come

WASHINGTON - The tropics seem to be going crazy what with the remnants of Gustav, the new threat from Hanna, a strengthening Ike and newcomer Josephine. Get used to it.

Hurricane experts say all the weather ingredients, which normally fluctuate, are set on boil for the formation of storms. And it's going to stay that way for a while, they said.

The latest models have Ike tracking south, following Gustav's path. Looking more likely to be a Gulf 'cane.

The historical comparisons Master links to in his piece on Gustav show a low probability of Gustav hitting the US, and Florida/Atlantic seaboard if that, not the GOM.

Climatology, as seen in the latest historical comparison of similar hurricanes in the past, favors the more northerly track. Only one out of ten similar past storms has made landfall in the U.S. as a hurricane.

It's really early yet, of course, but the new NHC track looks nothing like any of the historical ones.

What a monster !

How easy/difficult is it to get buildings/contents insurance in Florida these days? (serious question, i'm not being flippant)


It's quite difficult. Florida has been forced to provide homeowners' insurance for those who can't get it otherwise. It will probably end up costing the taxpayers a fortune, and isn't a particularly good deal for the homeowners, either.

My closest friend (A retired economics prof from an Ivy league school) Had told me that insurance was un affordable even if you could get a policy...which he
said was extreemly difficult.

I think that is going to be the driver behind our retreat from the coasts. It's not going to be a decree from on high, or a scientific commission. It's going to be that people simply can't afford to live there any more because they can't afford the insurance. When their homes are destroyed by storms or rising sea levels, they won't be able to afford to rebuild.

Florida has already seen people forced to leave due to insurance costs, selling their homes to wealthy people who could afford to pay. But that can only go so far. You need a solid tax base to keep the infrastructure in the condition it needs to be to attract the wealthy.

And it was partly cheap air-conditioning that led the Gulf Coast to be so heavily developed. If that becomes unaffordable or unreliable, I think people will flee in droves.

I live a mile from the beach and have a Allstate Floridian policy. It's not too expensive, but probably a year to year prosposition. My guess is if we get hit by another "Andrew" they will fold. By seperating Floridain group from the rest of Allstate it won't bring down the parent company.

You need a solid tax base to keep the infrastructure in the condition it needs to be to attract the wealthy.

That's my nagging worry about Hawaii. I think the highly mobile wealthy will desert it once the infrastructure no longer feels first-world. Already the doctors are leaving, and once air tourism goes away it could be a "tax hell" for homeowners and residents since the money will have to come from somewhere. And then... if a hurricane hits Oahu directly, it will never recover.

Surely you are not implying that the working upper middle class pays a disproportionate share of taxes.

I have watched the rebuilding of a burned down home two blocks ago with interest.

A two story tri-plex with high ceilings, balcony, double pane windows for cross-ventilation (traditional architecture). Insulating concrete (very air-tight, low moisture permeability) that is wind resistant. Proper shading from summer sun. Front door 5'x" above sea level and 1 mile from Port of New Orleans HQ (and slightly further to #1 steel & metal (by weight) dock in world).

Solar PV and solar hot water heating. Battery banks kept the one occupied unit (last month) going with COFFEE during Hurricane Gustav.

Solar PV (if enlarged) could support enough AC and heat pump to take the edge off of summer heat and winter cool (we don't get "cold" per se).


Solar PV (if enlarged) could support enough AC and heat pump to take the edge off of summer heat and winter cool (we don't get "cold" per se).


And if not that there's always the lo-tech solutions:

Man, that's artistic. And only $169 USD (on sale!).

Out here in the Silicon Valley we have the same dilemma with earthquake insurance. Fortunately, most of the houses aren't worth that much (it's the dirt that costs the money), so we don't usually bother. What I really need insurance against is my job being lost due to the high-tech company's building being a pile of rubble.

Despite the recent fall in oil prices and corresponding rises in airline share prices it looks like more airlines could be going bust in the not too distant future as demand destruction works its magic.

IATA: Airlines forecast to buckle under £5.2bn of losses over two years

Airlines will post losses of $9.3bn (£5.2bn) over the next two years as a "toxic combination" of high fuel costs and dwindling demand ravages their finances, the industry's trade body has warned.

The latest gloomy forecast from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) comes as more airlines are expected to join UK-based Zoom and Silverjet in the bankruptcy courts over the next 18 months.

IATA said it anticipated a loss of $5.2bn this year and released 2009 estimates for the first time which predict a deficit of $4.1bn, bringing the total loss over the period to $9.3bn.

I've seen several press articles referring to a release of 250,000 barrels from the SPR to "calm the markets". This seems too low, by an order of magnitude or more, to replace crude lost from GOM production over the course of a multiple-day outage. What's up with the disconnect?

That's all that the oil companies have asked for so far. (And curiously, it was Citgo that asked. Yup, the Venezuelan oil company.)

There may be more requests later. I suspect with so many refineries offline, there's not a lot of need for crude right now.

Citgo pulls SPR request, Marathon makes its own

The Department of Energy received a second request, this time from Marathon Oil, for a withdrawal from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve because of disruptions caused by Hurricane Gustav.

The first request to arrive in the wake of Gustav, from Venezuela's government-controlled Citgo Petroleum Corp., was withdrawn late Wednesday with larger ships being allowed to pass through the Calcasieu Ship Channel.

And that 250 k has/will go to Citgo/PDVSA.

Heard that conocophillips wanted some.

Can't imagine that their Plaquemine's Alliance is running.

Where would it get the electricity?

Because it's not needed - commercial crude stocks have been steadily building and are large enough to last a good while and there's a large supply overhang in North Sea crude that can come in should the arb open up.

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending August 29, 2008

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged nearly 15.3 million barrels per day during the week ending August 29, up 147 thousand barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 88.7 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production rose last week, averaging 9.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production increased last week, averaging 4.5 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 9.8 million barrels per day last week, down 149 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 10.1 million barrels per day, 0.2 million barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged 883 thousand barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 93 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) decreased by 1.9 million barrels from the previous week. At 303.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the middle of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.0 million barrels last week, and are near the lower boundary of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased last week while gasoline blending components inventories decreased during this same time. Distillate fuel inventories fell last week, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.9 million barrels last week but remain below the lower limit of the average range. Total commercial petroleum inventories decreased by 3.6 million barrels last week, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.

And here's what they were expecting.

The petroleum supply report was expected to show that oil stocks rose by 500,000 barrels, according to the average of analysts' estimates in a survey by energy information provider Platts.

The Platts survey also showed that analysts projected gasoline inventories fell 1.8 million barrels and distillates went up 1.1 million barrels during last week.

"I expect the U.S. numbers to show oil demand is weakening," said Tetsu Emori, commodity markets fund manager at ASTMAZ Futures Co. in Tokyo. "The impact from Gustav will be seen in next week's numbers."

Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.0 million barrels last week, and are near the lower boundary of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories increased last week while gasoline blending components inventories decreased during this same time. Distillate fuel inventories fell last week, and are in the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

Isn't this a bit lacking in usual detail?

Yes, though that has happened before. Just a mistake, maybe?

I assume the rest of the data is in the tables at the bottom...isn't it?

Not very shocking, sub $100 next week

Price Elasticity of Demand
4 Week Averages 08 vs. 07 plus % YTD 08 vs. 07

Finished Motor Gasoline   9,426     9,582    -1.6% -2.0%
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel    1,545     1,703       -9.3%  -4.8%
Distillate Fuel Oil       4,257     4,146       +2.7%  -2.8%
Residual Fuel Oil           536       761      -29.6% -16.2%
Propane/Propylene           973     1,018       -4.4%  -4.4%
Other Oils                3,554     3,815       -6.8 % -8.0%

Total Products Supplied  20,292    21,025     -3.5% -4.1%

Glad to be able to do this, this week :-)


Does anyone have a breakdown of "Other Oils"? Major reductions.

Are people not changing their oil as often ? (Lubricants are a major part of Other Oils I suspect). Or ... ?



My recollection is that Gasoline demand has been consistent around 1.6% for the past couple of months. Am I right?

One possibility is that demand will return as gas prices drop, it doesn't look like we have seen a lot of that yet.

Yes, but the weekly data is wrong. The last 15 of 16 months (from memory) had greater drops than initially reported in weekly #s.

The year to date data is a mixture of the higher quality revised monthly #s and the "not so good" weekly numbers that tend to overstate consumption.

I do think that (assuming errors are constant) that consumption is uniformly lower that y-o-y 2007 data. We are not conserving more since oil hit $147.


The US has carried out a cross border raid into Pakistan. Several women and children were killed, presumable with some men too.
Pakistan is rather unhappy.

with god on our side..

Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka--> all of South Asia is turning into a giant Overshoot mess. :(

Why do you think the following countries will turn into a giant overshoot mess?

India, which has the second largest amount of arable land in the world.
Thailand, which is the largest producer and exporter of rice in the world.
Sri Lanka, which does not have a particularly large population to feed.
Mynamar, whose problem is a very bad and oppressive government and not overpopulation.

Also, what timeframe are you looking at?

Hello Suyog,

Thxs for responding. Please do a google of these countries, then study for awhile. They are having major problems now with many violent deaths, riots, strife, shortages...and I expect them to get continually worse in time. My guess is 10 years or less for full blown anarchy and widespread decimation. Lack of water & food. Norman Borlaug: Without I-NPK, it's over.

Thailand ? During the current protests, precisely ONE person has been killed. London is more dangerous than Bangkok.

India, which has the second largest amount of arable land in the world.

India also has the second largest population in the world. India's population per acre of arable land is 3.2 people. That is way, way above what they could support without the aid of irrigation, fertilizer and modern farming equipment. In fact if they stopped irrigation, which they will soon have to because the water tables are dropping so fast, their population per acre of arable would rise to over 5.

Sri Lanka, which does not have a particularly large population to feed.

Pure Baloney! Sri Lanka's population is 21,129,000. Their population per acre of arable land is a whopping 9.49 people. That is the eighth highest in the world behind only Singapore, Gaza Strip, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Egypt and the West Bank. None of these places could support themselves without massive food imports from the outside world.

Myanmar has a population of 47,758,000 and Thailand a population of 65,493,000, both extremely high. Both have a population per acre of arable land of about 2. Not that high but not low either because the world average is 1.3.

Ron Patterson

Where do these figures come from?

From the CIA World Factbook. I took the total land area then multiplied that by the percent arable. Then I took the population and divided it by that number. That gave me the population per square kilometer of arable land. That number had to be divided by 247.105, the number of acres per square kilometer.

I did that for the 70 largest countries and the world, population wise. I have yet to finish the smaller populated countries.

Ron Patterson

Fantastic! I hope you post a graph. It would go great with the one of % Farmers vs Energy Per Capita.

Darwinian: I love the CIA world factbook site. Its usefullness is great for those who want credibility.
When detractors try and say the CIA isnt to be trusted
about info...I tell them to read the site and learn the info was largely supplied by the countries themselves.
You can glean alot of hidden stuff from that site. Stuff thats hidden in plain view. You people here on TOD are great at research...to bad our medias journalists are little more then FAX and XEROX jockies.

Thanks for responding.
I am aware of all the bad news that can be found while using google. But sometimes that can distort perceptions. These countries have always had problems with violence, malnutrition, poverty, riots, etc.
But somehow they have muddled through. In case of India, they have even enjoyed good economic growth for the last few years. Why do you think they can't muddle through for the next few decades?

What arable population density do you think is sustainable in a post peak world?

The problem is globalization. If they had a riot or a famine in 1800, it didn't have much effect on their neighbors. If the economy of Britain collapsed due to a stock fraud, it didn't have much effect on Burma. Now that they're dependent on fertilizer to overdrive their soil, they are affected by outside suppliers who might prefer to sell their scarce resource to more stable contries whose checks don't bounce.

Worse, early stages of industrialization create a revolution of rising expectations, and destabilize social hierarchies. So when something goes wrong and the promises are betrayed, you see more aggressive responses from the population than during past calamities.

There's no one in a position to be a white knight in South Asia except maybe China, and that's a new wrinkle too.

India's population per acre of arable land is 3.2 people. That is way, way above what they could support without the aid of irrigation, fertilizer and modern farming equipment.

This is fundamentally incorrect. We need to not only change our energy sources, but how we farm. It is absolutely possible to feed 3.2 people on that land area without "modern" techniques. All of this has been gone over time and again, so I wish people would stop repeating this nonsense.

What we lack is people who know natural/permaculture methods. As long as people remain ignorant of sustainable farming practices, Ron will be correct, but he is fundamentally incorrect.


Cf. the Dervaes family in Pasadena, who annually grow 6000 pounds of food on their 1/5 acre plot in the city (or some such figure, I think that is pretty close).


Reality Check.
Go to http://www.feed_your_family_and_the_world_too_on_a_suburban_lot_debunked... and read what MC (Mama Cass) has to say about that.
Your better choice is to move next to a Wal-Mart Super Store.

I dunno about your link.

But you can try this one


Sorry about that Rethin, it was supposed to be a joke.
I was slappy after reading JD's site linked below.
The serious work being done on mini farming has been by John Jeavons.
John has developed a proven method that one can use to grow a complete diet, alot of work though.

Pakistanis furious over U.S.-led border raid

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan is determined to defend its territorial integrity, the country's foreign minister said on Thursday, as anger mounted over a raid by U.S.-led troops on a remote border village.

The pre-dawn helicopter-borne ground assault on the village of Angor Adda on the Afghan border on Wednesday was the first known incursion into Pakistan by U.S.-led troops since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Twenty people, including women and children were killed, officials said, and a new civilian government, more sensitive to public anger than the previous government, summoned the U.S. ambassador to lodge an angry protest.

Haven't they figured out by now that we don't care what they think?

Yes, but the politicians have to say something to placate the domestic population. Without the billions of dollars in aid the US throws at them, their country will turn into another Afghanistan. So they will continue to protest verbally while not being able to do anything.

Our occasional correspondent Wisdom From Pakistan says the US aid money goes for things like building highway overpasses, while the blackouts keep happening. Also that investors from the oil sheikhdoms are (were) propping up the markets there. So I don't know if the US aid was really doing Pakistan much good - but then maybe it was all getting siphoned off by those politicians.

So will the day come when said sheikhdoms tell the US to stop bombing their investment? They still haven't complained about the destruction of their investment in Lebanon at Israel's hands.

The track record of the US flooding 3rd-world countries with aid because of knee-jerk war responses is not good. South Vietnam and Honduras were past examples. I guess Georgia is now on the list.

Time to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and scare up some American concern.

The Cold War was like Yojimbo; every 3rd-world state could keep running across the street to the other superpower to get a better bribe. When the Cold War ended America could treat or neglect everybody the way it truly desired. But I hear the coffin-maker's hammer pounding again, and the scuttling of sandals between Washington and Beijing.

And I bet this is getting zero (more likely nano) airtime in the US. So when rioters burn our embassy down etc, we will be plenty mad at those stinkin ungrateful foriegners! This is all part of the endless war on terror, got to piss off enough brown skins so that the supply of terrorists who want to get even is maintained in perpetuity. It would be bad for business, if our population wasn't scared now, wouldn't it.

Discovery Project Earth

I was trying to waste some time waiting for Palin's speech last night and ran across the above.

The segment I watched - not sure which in the series it is - was "Wrapping Greenland"

Dr. Jason Box, a glaciologist from Ohio State University, wants to prevent glaciers from melting by covering them with blankets that will reflect the powerful rays of the sun. Box is convinced that his specially chosen material is resilient enough for Arctic conditions, but just how indestructible is it really? The team goes airborne to reproduce some of the worst weather experienced in the Arctic Circle: a hurricane-force ice storm. After testing, they deploy a 10,000-square-yard, reflective geo-textile blanket on the Greenland ice sheet. Will the blanket indeed reflect the sun and block the wind?

I was speechless - and not in a "good way".

Great visuals of glacier melt and moulins.

To their credit they did slightly mention the amount of carbon it would take to create the poly-propolyne blankets and the helo trips to support the logistics.

Now they "only" think they would need to cover the edges of the glacier(s) - not the whole glacier.

Whatever...I am still moving to higher ground.


Heh. IIRC, some on the TOD staff thought that was a good idea, at least a few years back.

Though I think it was more a measure of how serious they thought the climate change problem was, more than faith that it would work.

I think in a technical sense it would work. But unless a local commercial interest was involved -saving a local glacier that supports a year round tourist/ski industry say, I doubt it is affordable. I think you'd get more climate bang for the buck, painting desert areas white.

I'm not into this geo-engineering one little bit. Regardless of which side of the AGW debate you are on, messing with such a complex system as Earth with it's multitude of variable, secondary variables etc.. is potentially just as dangerous[as current human behaviour].

1.Man screws up planet.
2.Man Screws up planet more!

In avaition circles PIO is a well known term - pilot induced oscillation. Basically a pilot corrects but becasue of a lag in control response and aircraft response the pilot ends up over-correcting. It is all very well trying to nudge a system back into sync.....but if that sysem is multi-DOF as is the case with Gaia the outcome could be even worse that the symptom you were trying to correct.

My pennys' worth.


PIO? What you mean like this!


I'm not either. This is a reaction by those raised to believe in the infinite capacity to fix anything with technology entering into the denial phase - in these cases intelligent well educated people coming to an understanding of the seriousness of the situation. So you discover that something is horribly wrong, and then think "Wow, this is really bad, we have to fix this. What can we do?".

The reality - that we will not/cannot fix it - is far too difficult to contemplate, so most will never go there. The scary part is that at some point the level of desperation will reach the point that we start to try this stuff.

After all, what's the alternative? Stop driving or something? Be serious.

My pennys' worth.

Make it two -- I'm with you. During the hot days of the Cold War -- no I mean the first one, not the new one -- there was talk of nuclear winter. There's geo-engineering for you!

Anything but organized cooperative global retrenchment on all fronts, which is the cheapest and least risky option -- but not profitable.

Are you sure the guy's name is not Christo?

"...deploy a 10,000-square-yard, reflective geo-textile blanket on the Greenland ice sheet"

They should commission Christo.lol

[Bulgarian-born American Environmental Artist, born in 1935]


Then you missed the segment about spraying ocean water vapor into the air using a fleet of 1500 ships.

Or my favorite, the placement of 16 Trillion, with a T, reflectors into space to stop sunlight from reaching the Earth.

Let me coin the phase biostupid, if it hasn't been already.

I usually turn off the science shows because I get bored, but this was the first time I remember angrily turning off the TV because I fear an oncoming invasion of biocrapology is going to further confuse the already ignorant sheeple.

"Atom" was boring, but at least I learned something.

My local small repair/service garage is doing very well as people are tending to fix and hold onto their older cars for longer, rather than trade up.

Aslo the newer the car the more expensive and specialised the repair. Cars are so optimised these days that they need very specific servicing/repairs that are done by dealerships who charge a fortune (up to £200 per hour labour). People are very put off by this!


The problem, as always with complex systems is the failure mode.

Modern cars have lots of electronics, literally millions of transistors, and if one fails possibly the whole car fails.

The trouble with modern electronics is that the chips are on complex non-repairable circuit boards and after a few months/years are obsolete.

Eventually the failure of one microscopic component can mean scrapping thousands of $ of car well before what would be end-of-life for simpler designs. The same is true for most things we buy with integrated electronics!

Hope that your economy doesn't rely on such things.

I doubt places like Cuba would be able to keep modern cars running for decades like they do now.

xeroid -

As a sometimes car enthusiast, I agree with you wholeheartedly.

Given the cost and complexity of doing major surgery on modern cars, the average backyard mechanic can hardly do anything beyond the most basic simple repairs. However, not all that long ago it was quite common for working class folks, particularly in rural areas, to do all their own repairs and even overhaul their own engines to keep the old clunker running. Try doing that with your Lexus.

I don't think it would be too much of an exaggeration to say that thirty years from now it would easier to fully restore a 1932 Packard to like-new condition than it would say a 1990 Hyundai. With enough effort, the former can be done by a person skilled in normal machine-shop practice and auto body work. Whereas the latter has parts that simply cannot be reproduced with anything less than major industrial operations, e.g., plastic injection molding, electronics and computer manufacture, etc.

I just happen to have a 1968 Beetle in very good condition. It's mainly just a fun car that I drive only occasionally, but in an economically collapsed Mad Max sort of world, it might be a very good vehicle to have (provided there's any fuel to put into it), as it's simple, rugged, and easy to work on. Getting more apocalyptic now, I think another good feature is that its point-and-condenser ignition won't be fried by the electromagnetic pulse of a nuclear blast.

One of my thoughts when I chose to buy a low mileage, well maintained, computer less 1982 Mercedes Benz 240 D with a manual transmission.

Fuel, almost any oil (soy, engine, jet fuel, etc. all work), extreme durability of components, simplicity of design, and so forth. I bought 15 gallons of synthetic engine oil when it was on sale (a good investment to date).


All the new cars still have ordinary internal combustion engines -- how hard is it to pull off all the fancy electronics and injection pumps and hook up a carburetor?

Electric windows -- now there is a problem. It's probably going to be stuck up or down.

I've replaced one of these, and it's actually a pretty simple motor. Once you figure out how to get the door panel off, not hard at all. Making one yourself, of course, would be impossible. Further, I think it's somewhat of an exaggeration to reduce all modern cars to fancy electronics that can't be worked on by the average joe. You can save quite a bit of money figuring out how to do most maintenance and repair issues yourself (the internets are a great help in this regard). IMO, there's a "knowledge premium" built in to the exorbitant labor charges. People aren't incapable of doing this stuff, just unwilling.

My '87 Toyota is the same way. In the 7 years I've owned it I've only taken it to the mechanic three times: once when I bought it to have it checked out, once when it blew a wheel-bearing in Death Valley, and once when I had someone else do the welding for a new muffler because I had to get it inspected soon and procrastinated doing it myself. Everything else is all me.

Interesting rumor I heard once: the Model T owners that go parading around to old car fairs each summer carry blocks of aluminum in their trunks and maybe a mill so if the car breaks down they can mill a new part.

The Model T got 17 mpg on average too, the same as the Ford Exploder and better than a lot of the vehicles being sold in the U.S. right now. Of course its top speed was 45 mph, nor would you want to go any faster because you probably wouldn't survive a crash at that speed, but hey, it's basic transportation. There are other funny stories about its customizability too. For instance it was real wheel drive, which was terrible in the snow, so what people would do in snowier climates like Wyoming is drive in reverse but put the gear-box in backwards so you could get a decent speed.

People who have self-built electric cars also find them virtually maintenance free, although doubtless the manufacturers will find a way of complicating things when they get going!
Still, you can throw away a lot of the complexity of an ICC if you go pure electric, although not of course hybrid.

and if you go for a long warantee, you are hitching your wagon to $100 oil changes for that 100k miles or whatever.

imo,the best solution is to get away from the car culture.

now, a pos gas guzzling 8mpg 3/4 ton chevey 4wd for hauling heavy stuff.......well, ok in moderation.

and sara palen taught her daughter about abstinence, but only in moderation.

Remember when they made good movies? Remember how the
plot would thicken and you would be on edge? Recall how the narration or music or screen shots would raise
like a crescendo?
Anyone getting that feeling with the markets? The politics? The weather?

Anyone else smell smoke? Is it getting warm in this handbasket? I get the feeling Ive met some really intresting folks, at dinner, on the Titanic.
Has anyone noticed the severe lack of life boats for
this many passengers?

The bands still playing and the ship seems to be listing. Can you emagine the line at the boats pursers window?

Although most people seem fixated on the price of oil, I've recently become more interested in the long term outlook for nat gas.

On the demand side, the bullish aspects include (1) increasing demand for electrical production due to inevitable carbon tax/cap and trade (both Obama and McCain support cap and trade+dem congress=cap and trade) increasing the price of coal PPs) (2) increasing home heating (oil-->nat gas conversions reportedly up ~50%), (3) oil sands ramp up, and (4) ramping up of wind (more wind=more intermitancy=more natural gas requirements)

The bearish aspects of demand are that (1) solar produces mostly peak power, reducing natural gas peaking production, (2) expanding EV usage will increase baseload power, and (3) a smart grid would both increase baseload demand and decrease peak load demand.

On the supply side, while the relative success of the unconventional fields has brightened the supply picture in the lower 48, it's still far from good in the long term. Plus, if demand goes up to the point where we need to rely on LNG imports (which almost certainly will happen), LNG prices are just about the same as the price of crude.

Overall, it seems to me that the price of natural gas will likely skyrocket in the mid to long term. Any thoughts?

On the bullish side I'd add cracking & coking of heavy oil.

On the bullish side I'd add cracking & coking of heavy oil.

Just a point about terminology: it appears that coking and (thermal) cracking may not require hydrogen (natgas) inputs, but hydroprocessing, hydrotreating, and hydrocracking do; see, for example, here or here.

If anyone wants a laugh, check out the following from Peak Oil Debunked. It's pretty funny if you don't take yourself too seriously.


Tarzan says "Moooooooooo....."

I think a lot of valid points are raised. Sometimes i wonder if i am worried about nothing as i look around and all I see is "Don't worry, everything is under control". People drive their cars and raise their families and no-one seems to worry about ten years from now or twenty years from now. I look back twenty years and remember that a 40 megabyte hard drive was $400.

I wonder what changes could possibly come.

You have to have a reality check every now and then.

I had a hard time reading it because I was laughing so hard. I think the majority of our feed is corn based.

Reminder to self:
Add to BOB
-A good sturdy chair
-A thick pillow to keep my ass from getting sore
-Some pain relief ointment for my mouse clicking finger
-Headache medications
-A techno whiz bang collector dish that will collect those moonbeams JD says we're all gonna using to power my salad shooter and that eternal growth thingy he's got.

It looks to me like Hanna is breaking Ike is it possible, are they to close, is it possible in the future that to many hurricanes to interfere and break each other; preventing them to grow larger ?
Can anyone put light on the question?

Bob Breck said that he expected the heat energy drawn out of the ocean by Hanna would impact Ike's future strength. An interaction apparently ignored by NHC.


Bob Breck said that he expected the heat energy drawn out of the ocean by Hanna would impact Ike's future strength. An interaction apparently ignored by NHC.

I regularly read the NHC discussions, they did mention, that depending upon the path, Ike could be weakened if it ran over Hannas coooler wake. Now their models probably don't use ocean surface temperature at that resolution, but probably some sort of spatially averaged value. But per the disussions, the forcasters do make judgements about how much to weight the different models. I think they have been doing pretty decently. You don't need a degree in meterology to read their stuff -although the practice of having been reading them for a couple of seasons is probably needed.

Bob Breck .com
Bob Breck's Blog
"Bob Breck is New Orleans' #1 rated weather personality."

You really stand by his track record, Alan; have you road tested him against the competition? Is there a site where they stack up all the analysts graphically, ala the oil production forecasts we see here?

Just personal (and group local) observations vs. other local forecasters, NHC, etc.

He has replaced the legendary Nash Roberts (he called Betsy to turn towards New Orleans 14 hours before Nat'l Weather Service, and recommended limited evacuation#, he was also on first airplane to fly into a typhoon during WW II (protecting troop convoys made the near suicide mission worth doing)) as the local "go to" guy.

He does a good job of explaining his reasoning (sometimes I think "college seminar") and conveying the uncertainty. He can get extra minutes from network programming upon request. 30 minute weather casts at times during Gustav but also other times.

# Can you imagine the repercussions if Betsy had not hit New Orleans, or if Gustav had not fizzled out ? It takes considerable moral courage to stand up there all alone and go against "conventional wisdom".


JeffMasters at http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/ :

When hurricanes collide
Many readers have asked if Hanna and Ike could collide and make a super hurricane. Well, hurricanes cannot collide to make a bigger hurricane. When hurricanes get within about 900 miles of each, they begin to interact. There are three possible outcomes:

1) The larger storm will destroy the smaller one. The larger storm's upper-level outflow will bring hostile wind shear over the smaller storm, and the larger storm may steal the smaller storm's moisture. This occurred in 2005, when Hurricane Wilma destroyed Tropical Storm Alpha over Hispaniola.

2) Both hurricanes will compete for the same energy, resulting in weakening of both storms.

3) The storms will rotate around a common center of rotation (the Fujiwhara Effect), before going on their separate ways. Hurricane Humberto and Hurricane Iris took part in a brief Fujiwhara interaction in 1995. Iris then began interacting with a third storm, Tropical Storm Karen, which orbited and later merged with the more intense Iris. In
cases, the two storms will merge, such as occurred in 1997 in the Pacific with Typhoon
Yule and TD 16W.

China is reporting significant YOY increases in both oil and gas production, also increases in imports


Out There: People Who Live Without TV

In contrast to the average American adult, who watches three hours of television a day, non-watchers fill their time with a plethora of activities.

"Non-viewers had a greater variety of things that they did with their free time than viewers did," Krcmar said. "It's not just that they were reading instead of watching TV. They were hiking and biking, and going to community meetings and visiting with friends. Overall, they tend to do more of everything."

Curiously, the people most likely to give up TV are extreme liberals, and extreme conservatives.

I've lived my entire adult life without a Boob Tube in the house. I highly recommend it.

Edit: comforting to know I'm an "extremist."

I haven't had TV for 15 years - no time for it, and in any case, I resent being programmed and manipulated. I am an extreme person.

I'm not in either group, but have never had or watched TV since I was young. I wonder how the author defined her groups. The last TV "show" I recall regularly watching was Top Cat, though I do recall watching the cub reporters Dan Rather and Mike Wallace Sunday evenings in the tavern. Interestingly, I found many of her observations ring true.

I found our kids knew all the pop culture-toys, products, and shows-I guess by osmosis at school. Never heard any resentment, and as the author states, they never complained of boredom.

"It's sort of counter-intuitive, because people think their kids would drive them nuts without TV," Krcmar said. "But parents found that kids became very good at entertaining themselves and didn't need to be entertained all the time by something that was lively and active. They didn't complain about being bored."

None of my kids got a TV on leaving the house. Too much to do.

doug, what I can't figure out is how anyone can have time for television (sure, there are some who owing to disability or what have you, probably find it helps to pass the day). I've always felt that there had to be a better use of my time.

I am listening to 24 hour hurricane coverage as I read TOD (Press conference for Jefferson Parish ATM).

I think I listen to 6 or 7 hours of TV for every hour that I watch.


Time is a big factor, but then why the hours on TOD.... It's your schedule, not others. This afternoon is a lull, last nite was moving pipe, chasing cattle, repairing fences and canning peaches. TOD is interactive, a wide skew of views, and some really good information. The same case can be made for the internet in general, if one is diligent.

I detest the spoonfed nature of TV, the addictive qualities whereby close good, retired friends get up, turn on the tube, and rarely leave it's sound. I realize it's comforting to them, but it defines their day and thoughts. I know same could be said of TOD, that it's discussions may define my thoughts for the day, but I chose to enter that thought, not an editor in the media. And then they get upset that you haven't seen that show, interview, whatever.

I think the worst is with children, where young relatives or kids of my kids' friends, sit and don't move for hours, often playing video games on one screen while watching a broadcast on another. They need to move, learn from direct experience, smell the flowers and the cowsh*t. Invariably, they are overwieght, and that weight, those extra fat cells, will be only harder to live with as they age.

I've been on again/off again having a TV (in the UK), this last time I've been without a TV for about two years now. But that doesn't translate to doing more outdoorsy things really: I watch DVDs on my PC (maybe about 3 movies a week), listen to radio (plays, etc) a lot and read a lot. I guess I've been exposed to enough "storytelling" from TV during my childhood it's something I really seek out. (The only reason I don't care about broadcast TV more is that (in the UK at least) it's full of reality TV, Springer style talk shows, ill-researched documentaries and soap operas rather than good content these days.)

I wonder if the post-modern equivalent of Homer is someone wandering around recounting the storylines of EastEnders (or Melrose Place for the US)?

I find TV to be grossly overstimulating. All the yelling and flashing graphics are incredibly distracting to me. Coming up on 16 years without TV.

The Archdruid's latest has been posted; I am emailing copies to my college students so that they can plan their futures intelligently:


I think there is something to what he is saying, but my thinking differs from his in some significant ways.

First, I see more of a "punctuated collapse" occurring than his catabolic collapse. Something like walking down some stairs — but the first one is a doozy. Why is the first one so bad?

Because in relatively short order the current crop of employed people will become unemployed as the economy sheds workers. These people will wait to reskill until they are positive that their old life will never come back. Orlov points out very well that with no structure for workers to walk into many will be driven to despair and to drink.

A small few will get the sorts of jobs Greer describes — transportation engineers, farmers and such — but most will not have the skills to do much of anything other than manual labor. People will be trapped needing to take whatever work they can to subsist and will not have time to retrain.

That leads to something that Greer doesn't mention in his piece and he might under-appreciate (I don't know for sure because I haven't read all his pieces): we are about to have an incredible glut of people looking for work.

Thus, we need to avoid using labor saving technologies at every turn.

Every endeavor will need to be framed with this question: how many thousands of people can it employ?

If we aren't thinking of putting thousands and tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people to work, we are not going to make a dent.

The shipbreakers of India and Banglesh follow this model. (I hope we have the decency to provide work boots, though.)

Once the ships are gone, we can get to work on dismantling the skyscrapers, as Greer points out. This could provide some amount of work for a decade or if we're lucky two decades. Refitting all the sewers and water pipes using the steel from the skyscrapers could use several thousand people in each city. Mining our dumps could use several hundred people per dump for perhaps a decade.

All the while we are teaching as many people as we can how to grow food.

But try as I might, I can't in my mind's eye find enough work for all the people I imagine will be looking for it.

On this score I am much more pessimistic than Greer. I would love to hear what others think about this.

What will everyone do to earn their keep as the economy sheds workers at an alarming rate (which has already begun, in my view)?

I agree with your detour from Greer Aangel, however I would go further to say that the trend will be not about, out with the old and in with the young, but the opposite.

A 60 year old engineer or, hell, a 70 year old professional in the next 5 or even 10 years will be the premium.

In 2 to 4 years there will be a glut of lets say engineers for example. The older ones will be sought after as the source of "How it was done back then".

To imply that going forward there will be a demand for NEW engineers is ludicrous.

Advice to the young;

Latch on to an oldster and intern yourself.


I don't think 60-70+ year old engineers will be in highest demand. While they have the most experience, they are also the ones that would have to be enticed by the most money to return to work. Also, they are less likely to want to put in the extreme hours for needed productivity. In addition, I can't guarantee this, but I believe on average workers' (even mental workers') productivity begins to decline as body health declines. 60 year olds, in theory, might have greater work ethic than their younger companions, but their body also begins to limit them, making them sick more often and mental processes can begin to fail (this is not universal, but in general).

I think engineers most in demand (for the period of time in which decline is fastest) will be the best engineers companies can find that are willing to work long and hard and have atleast 10 years experience. If collapse comes, there will be a period of time where freshly graduated engineers struggle to find opportunities, but universities will adjust to produce the quantity of engineers industry demands. Endowments will fall away from the less rigorous universities and be concentrated on the universities that produce the most desirable workers. Then, in a smaller market, these engineers will start to displace their older colleagues. Balance will be restored after a period of time (20 years from the start of the decline?) and if growth begins again, the cycle we've seen in the past 50 years will repeat.

I don't think 60-70+ year old engineers will be in highest demand. While they have the most experience, they are also the ones that would have to be enticed by the most money to return to work.

That would be in a BAU scenario. Few are expecting that.

People on fixed incomes even now sometimes find they have to return to work to make ends meet. You see them working at Wal-Mart or McDonald's for minimum wage. I think a lot more people will find themselves in that situation.

I think we might see a shift away from "long and hard," too. We see it already in the sudden interest in 4-day work weeks.

While its true some older engineers who haven't prepared for the escalating cost of retirement will have to return to work, also I see that they might not be successful in that endeavor.

Businesses will still want those that provide them with the highest productivity and I doubt the oldest engineers would be able to provide that with the greatest consistancy (on a group basis, certain individuals will exceed regardless). It'll only be good to be a 70+ year old engineer if you're in relatively good health, the field desired is within your most recent practicing area, you haven't been retired long (or haven't retired) and have an attitude conducive to cooperative work (no old cranks). Basically, they're only advantage will be several decades more experience, which is not the only factor employers will be working for. In other words, I see relatively even competition between engineers with 10 years experience all the way to 50 years experience based on company needs. Engineers with less than 10 years experience will be hamstrung until quality increases or demand rises significantly again (due to the deaths of the other engineers).

Sorry old guys, but this young pup is not afraid of being displaced by an old crank coming out of retirement anytime soon. You'll still have to prove that your experience gives you a significant advantge over my attitude and flexibility. Some of you will find your experience and knowledge critical to industry, others will be very hard pressed to return to an industry which has changed dramatically in your absence. We all still have to work hard to justify our resources consumed, so I wouldn't be too gleeful about the coming engineering crisis which will help those with the greatest experience. I'd be just as frightened as those of us with much less experience. If history teaches us anything, its that the ones who survive are the ones the will adapt best. Here's hoping that you adapt with the rest of us.

Note to any younger pups than me. The above will of course apply to me when I'm 60 and I look forward to the youthful competition (not really, but atleast it should keep me on my toes).


PS: I have the utmost respect for the experience of older engineers and am not arrogant enough to think that experience can be replaced if lost. I try and gain as much knowledge as I can from the older engineers and am willing to defer to their judgement when they can explain my errors. The only thing I can do is learn as much as I can (through their mentoring and my own experiences) and be willing to continue learning throughout my career.

others will be very hard pressed to return to an industry

Leanan's point was, I beleive, what industry? There may not be an industry, per se, but there may well be a hell of a lot of people needing to find local solutions to local engineering problems and turning to their formerly retired and cast aside neighbor to figure something out.


Um...ok...I hope the old guy's field wasn't door handle design for cars then.

Obviously, I was assuming some sort of global market remained. So let me take on your scenario. In a localized, cut off market, the engineer most in demand would probably be the one with the most general experience (can design a hot water heater and a small creek bridge) and many specialized experienced engineers would find themselves without a market. Innovativeness would also be key, because in theory engineers couldn't depend upon the equipment they once assumed they could buy to use. A turbo off a an old deisel truck welded to a motor output shaft might be the best solution for the necessity of compressed air. An old guy with year's of experience designing small reciprocating compressors might still be trying to figure out how to turn a big block into the same device long after the younger engineer already installed his. The design might not be as robust as the older engineer's experienced creation, but it would be the first utilized and earn him alot more work.

WTH do you have against the elderly? I wasn't aware they weren't able to learn...


Ed Tennyson (age mid-80s) can solve some problems about 20x faster than I can. I asked him about this and he said that he remembered how he solved it last time and just did it that way again.

He figured out how to operate the San Diego Trolley on a single track (with selected passing sidings, selected by him) when it first opened and the level of operating discipline required. This called upon ALL of his earlier experience in scheduling. He is now a wizard at scheduling and time estimation.

Just one of several areas of expertise.

Best Hopes for Mental Acuity,


That's not to say he couldn't have solved it 10x faster than you the first time. There's no accounting for genius combined with a photographic memory. They'll kick our butts any time.



Greer, like most, I suppose, seems to have a blind spot with regard to collapse: he simply isn't willing to consider rapid collapse. The evidence is in his own writing. To wit:

* He is obviously PO aware, as he notes the contributions of this website.

* At the same time, when discussing Russia and its recovery from the fall, he completely ignores that it was not brought about by energy scarcity or climate change, but by political and economic forces.

* The great sin he thereby commits is to ignore that Russia was able to rebound precisely because of the energy crisis: They had oil and gas, the means to produce it, and extremely high prices to sell it for.

* Absent those conditions, Russia does not recover in anything like the manner it has.

I am not arguing whether his ultimate vision is on or not, but only that it is suspect because he is ignoring very, very pertinent facts in his analysis.

Further, in his discussions of farming and the future, he sees BAU. Well, BAU sends the planet into paroxysms we really don't want to imagine. If we don't switch over to natural farming methods, a.k.a. carbon sequestering methods, we are simply putting another nail in the coffin. I also tire of this "subsistence" label. It's based on ignorance. Farming need not be subsistence. It is "subsistence" when BAU methods of farming are applied to small farms. It is not subsistence when natural methods are practiced. He even talks about large farms for producing wheat... criminy...


souperman2: good point, being an engineer will be good; being an old engineer, even better

ccpo: I noticed the same thing about Greer's view on Russia, missing the role high-profit fossil fuels played to bring Russia back.

He might miss some of the other big areas of difference between Russia and the West. When I describe the most important points of Orlov's work I usually mention that Russia had going for it:

  • that people weren't kicked out of their home (no private ownership of homes)
  • universal healthcare
  • a culture of growing food and multiple generations living in one dwelling
  • extensive public transportation, allowing people mobility

At best, a Western country has two of those four elements.

IMO Greer is essentially right about the gradual collapse scenario. Look around you right now. Aren't we in the US in a gradual collapse state, even as we speak? Flat to declining median income since ca 1970. Peak US oil and gas production in 70s. More and more people unable to afford health insurance. Degrading environment, vanishing farmland, etc, etc, etc.

This frog is noticing the hotter water.

It seems more and more people are moving toward the catabolic column, which is fine. History seems to indicate it is the more common way of things. God knows the powers that be **seem** to be trying to steer things in that direction (though I have my doubts about that. For them, the faster it is, the more they can steal.) I have no problem with the argument. I'm an agnostic on the rapidity of collapse. But, that is a view very much predicated on the how of things in the past, which is a poor model. What the world is now has never before existed. There have been rough corollaries, Rome perhaps being the closest in terms of complexity, but even Rome cannot come close to comparing.

What empire or area has ever dealt with the level of complexity, the level of efficiency (lack of redundancy), the interconnected web with other cultures/societies, multiple areas of resource decline/depletion, a world-wide economic emergency, resource wars **and** climate change this rapid?

I guess my point is for people to see what they see, but keep it to probabilities rather than definite outcomes so as to avoid being caught unaware.

In the end, we all know what the essential solutions are: reduce, reuse, recycle, localize, produce, conserve, create community... and change the game altogether.

As a note: I think we will have a somewhat-to-very much clearer idea of things by November 4th of this year, and maybe sooner.


From your link:

During the days of uncertainty before Hurricane Gustav’s arrival on the Louisiana coast, some enthusiastic soul posted claims to the peak oil newsblog The Oil Drum that the hurricane would bring industrial civilization itself crashing down in ruins.

We all know who this was. This persons "over the top" posts have been a continuous embarrassment to all of us.

I was pleased to note that this announcement seems to have fallen on unsympathetic ears. The Oil Drum’s forte is shrewd technical analysis, and its staff – if I may so describe the loose association of regular posters and commenters who give that excellent site its tone and direction – set aside such speculations and did their usual exemplary job, mapping out the oil platforms and refineries likely to be affected by Gustav and posting damage estimates that turned out to be fairly close to the picture now emerging on the ground.

Only a line further down.
I'd say about as much damage done as the poster positing perpetual motion upthread.

I must of missed this.

Who said this and when? I'm curious as to what that person wrote now.

I thought it was me, then I've searched TOD, I'm still not sure if I said it or not, if not probably I forgot to ;)!


"Speculation focused on fears about the direction of the economy, though it remained unclear why anxieties that have been around for months would suddenly take hold."

I'm not sure but I do know that the same thing happened in 1987 and 1929. Market crashes dont happen overnight. The DOW has lost 600 points so far this week. That is quite an accomplishment...

That is quite an accomplishment...

But not necessarily a surprise...

The Playbook: Four quarter strategy for economic collapse


Same guy called a big drop after Sept 28th... Market manipulation, he claims.


And he described a "Wave 3" pattern developing, which always leads to a crash, a few days before that... and says it is very close... and, of course, market is down from the recent high of just over 1300...


This guy seems to be scary good at this.

"I'm 100% short the market."



Maybe investors were spooked by Pimco's Bill Gross today when he warned of a coming "financial tsunami" that would "submerge financial markets". That would be enough to spook me if I were investing in the stock market....

This housing recession is approaching the level of the housing recession during the Great Depression.


The retail industry may be added to the distressed industry list.

Get Ready for the ‘Pain Of Paying’

In the decades since, consumer credit became so pervasive that paying cash became passé. Want a new $32,530 Dodge Ram Crew pickup? Take a lease. Sick of your old house? Get a 100 percent mortgage and trade up. Face-lift? Round-the-world cruise? New PC? A $300 sushi dinner? Whip out that plastic. It was this behavior—the endless willingness of lenders to lend and borrowers to borrow—that kept the consumer economy humming uninterrupted from the early 1990s, straight through the brief recession of 2001, until the credit meltdown of 2007.

But many of those who extended credit recklessly are now acting like a single twentysomething who, after having a few bad affairs, takes a vow of celibacy. Students are returning to campus this fall to find that lenders have graduated. Retailers who freely extended credit to any customer with a pulse are deploying bean counters armed with sophisticated software to sniff out potential liabilities. When higher rates and fees don't deter their borrowers, credit-card companies resort to slashing credit lines. "We predicted there would be some degree of spillover from mortgage meltdown," says Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com. "But the credit line reductions by big credit-card companies in the last six months has been fairly unprecedented."

I don't know if we will ever get to the point where is it literally almost impossible to get credit financing, but we are certainly at least headed in that general direction.

westexas -

I think if anything finally kills the US auto industry, which has been in ICU for quite some time and sinking fast, it is that people just won't be able to get the financing they need to acquire new cars. Let's face it: most people can't comfortably afford the cars they are currently driving. Once the credit goes poof, the US auto industry will soon go with it.

I don't know what the latest ratios are, but in the US far more people lease cars than buy them outright. This trend has made it nearly impossible to buy a late-model used car from a private party, something I have always made a policy of doing. Today, most used cars are those coming off lease and being sold by car dealerships. They of course have to add a mark-up.

I've read that Detroit is trying to 'tart-up' their smaller cars with all sorts of superfluous options in order to have an excuse for jacking up the sticker price. This tact will surely backfire. Detroit doesn't seem to realize that the total face dollar value of automobiles sold in the US today is simply not sustainable now, and certainly not under the economic conditions looming ahead of us.

The truth that will not be faced is that (in terms of total yearly sales dollars) the US is going have a much smaller auto industry than it currently does. Objectively, this is not such a bad thing, as supposedly an industry is there to satisfy current consumer needs, rather than consumers being there to sustain the needs of an industry.

How can anyone NOT be bearish on the US auto industry? It's a real tragedy, because Detroit has such a wealth of technology, talent, and good workers, yet can't seem to pull it all together.

As long as America has its own special, culturally "superior" car industry, Americans will have gas hogs, and since our opulence is an inspiration to ambitious greedheads across the planet we will inspire them to demand gas hogs too.

Once the Big Three are dead and our transportation needs are effectively met by quality manufacturers like Honda, Toyota and Nissan, all of whom have US factories, we will begin to have a car culture more like normal countries, and there will no longer be American cars or a feedback loop to the rest of the world. Americans will still build cars, but they will no longer determine their tonnage.

I think if anything finally kills the US auto industry, which has been in ICU for quite some time and sinking fast, it is that people just won't be able to get the financing they need to acquire new cars. Let's face it: most people can't comfortably afford the cars they are currently driving. Once the credit goes poof, the US auto industry will soon go with it.

Many years ago a used car salesman told me a story how they get unqualified people into cars.
A factory worker type w/a family of 6 entered his dealership looking for a used car.
The salesman got him to sign on the dotted line on a red sedan.
The credit check came back and factory guy was limited out, no sale.
So the salesman, who was hearing it from his manager for lack of sales, ran the credit check again, this time on a newer blue sedan.
The credit check passed, based on the collateral value of the newer car.
Factory guys' comment, when he took delivery, was "I thought we wuz gittin' a RED car."
Of course the factory guy defaulted, car was repossesed and the salesman got to sell it again.

A significant number of car buyers have rolled old loans into new loans on new cars. So, in many cases their debt load might be thousands of dollars more than the purchase price on a rapidly depreciating new car.

OECD oil inventory levels decreased, but so did demand until the days of oil supply on hand was higher than normal. (IEA)

World oil production is yet increasing. Qatar has a huge expansion in LNG going on through 2012 that might increase LNG to 3.7 TCF per year and bring greater quantities of condensates and NGL's to the market.

I would expect that a free fall in oil prices might bring OPEC cuts somewhere under $100 a barrel.

High oil prices stunned the world and the world cut back.

There is danger of inflation as the U.S. might have to back its federal mortgage guarantees, FDIC deposits, FEMA assistance programs, and military treaty arangements. The huge price runups in commodities anticipated more inflation than was naturally occurring.

Since some seemed to think tax incentives for borrowing were greater than income from saving, some are heading into the recession with little money on hand and holding overpriced real estate and securities. As people reduce stock market margin accounts; the market deflates. Some cannot sell their real estate to pay back their loans and were in danger of bankruptcy and garnishment of wages. Have read senior citizens were threatened with garnishment of their social security checks for non-payment of credit card accounts.

We are no longer on the gold standard. Gold is of little value. As the price soars; many gold mines open and the market must buy more and more of the yellow metal to keep prices even or rising. The earth is left cratered and shafted minus some fossil fuel inputs, labor, and environmental risks.

for the above link about 'why the candidates won't talk about science' well if this country had a strong science curriculum for the past few decades we would not be snarled in wars due to a certain justification.

Leanan this one is worth a headline post on 5th Sep. It turns out we Brits are just as loony as everyone else!!


"It's set in Venezuela, you play a mercenary and fuel is used as a currency."